Public Bodies in RIPA Spying AllegationsAdded: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
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Big Brother Watch, the privacy outfit, has claimed that such public bodies as the BBC and the Royal Mail are regularly abusing surveillance powers.
Big Brother Watch has recently published a report which contained information on the responses, or lack of, from different public outfits.
The requests were made under the FOI Act and concerned the powers granted under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), enforced a dozen years ago to grant powers of surveillance. It enabled the companies to perform surveillance like interception of communications. The entities granted powers of surveillance ranged from the police to local councils.
According to the privacy watchdog, some public authorities that have power under RIPA have refused to disclose any details on how often they used it and for what purpose. The organizations in question include the Royal Mail, the BBC, Ofsted, and even the Office of Fair Trading. In addition, the outfit’s report also showed the number of RIPA investigations undertaken by the local governments. For instance, 345 local authorities have conducted RIPA surveillance in the past 3 years, which resulted in a total of 9,607 cases. The cases in question have included 26 local authorities that employed surveillance for dog fouling. In the meantime, seven local authorities have done this to nab people flouting smoking bans.
Kent turned out to be the local authority which has made the most RIPA investigations (315) within the last 3 years. Big Brother Watch claimed that all RIPA investigations by public organizations should be subject to judicial approval. The outfit pointed out that it was unacceptable for public authorities to keep secret information of why they were spying on the public, as well as to use the powers in question without seeking a court’s approval. The privacy watchdog believes that judicial approval for spying on people should be the norm rather that exception, and the people should have a right to know why and how such powers are being used.
Big Brother Watch pointed out that the current legislation was not working and before further surveillance powers were considered, the authorities had to fix the situation. Fiddling around the edges by introducing insignificant changes in new laws can make the law more complicated and put at risk people’s privacy and civil liberties.
August 28th,2012Posted by:
Tuesday, August 28th, 2012No comments
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