[email protected]… Terry Stacy: Councils must be transparent and accountable about surveillance

Well, it’s not quite an op-ed article, but there’s a detailed letter from Lib Dem leader of Islington Council, Cllr Terry Stacy, urges all councils to follow Islington’s example, and reject the local use of surveillance powers. Here’s an excerpt:

… local government really is on the frontline of Britain’s expanding surveillance state – […] councillors and council leaders need to be held accountable for their decisions. Councillors must decide whether they embrace the surveillance society, or reject it and introduce checks and balances and public democratic oversight of the local use of surveillance powers, as the Liberal Democrats have done in Islington.

Local authorities have the power under theRegulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to conduct surveilance of residents. Your report highlights how councils have used these powers for issues as trivial as people putting their rubbish out on the wrong day. But there will be times when councils can and do use Ripa powers proportionately and responsibly to tackle serious environmental health issues, fraud, and crime. We’ve used covert surveillance to crack down on shops selling knives to children, for example.

Surveillance powers should only be used where appropriate and proportionate, such as when there are serious issues of public protection in which there is no other way of collecting evidence. Every time a council uses its surveillance powers it should be considered carefully, and it should be the last resort. And if someone is found innocent, all data gathered should be destroyed.

You can read the letter in full HERE.

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This entry was posted in LibLink and Local government.
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One Comment

  • “Cllr Terry Stacy, urges all councils to follow Islington’s example, and reject the local use of surveillance powers”

    Except he doesn’t say that at all!

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