Thursday, 5 June 2008

Surveillance Britain - Councils admit snooping.

. Council officials are accessing the telephone and e-mail records of thousands of people secretly every year new research has suggested. Town halls are routinely using controversial anti-terror measures to obtain private data to assist investigations into suspected offences by residents.

The survey for the Daily Mail newspaper found that town halls admitted looking at the private data of 936 people under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act. For example, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council used the Act six times to try to identify and locate a bogus faith healer. Kent County Council conducted 23 checks as it looked into illegal petrol storage and the smuggling of a dog.

Commenting, the civil rights group Liberty said;

"You can care about serious crime and terrorism without throwing away our personal privacy with a snoopers' charter. The law must be reformed to require sign-off by judges, not self-authorisation by over-zealous bureaucrats."

Quite right. The next time you hear a politician use the words 'in the interests of national security' be afraid, very afraid.

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