Huhne attacks RIPA snoopers’ charter: “the Government’s surveillance society has got out of hand”

Today’s Times reports:

Councils are to have their powers to snoop on the public severely curtailed. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, will signal government plans today to reverse the expansion of the surveillance society amid growing alarm at the extent of official spying.

And not before time, for as the paper reports elsewhere:

A survey by the Liberal Democrats found that 182 of the 475 local authorities in England and Wales had authorised the use of Ripa [Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000] powers on 10,288 occasions in the past five years.

It found that 1,615 council staff have the power to authorise their use but that 340 were below the senior management grade. The study, using freedom of information laws, found that only 9 per cent of the authorisations have led to a successful prosecution, caution or fixed-penalty notice.

Chris Huhne, the Lib Dems’ shadow home secretary, has urged Labour to walk the walk of reform:

This consultation is a tacit admission by the Government that its surveillance society has got out of hand. For too long, powers we were told would be used to fight terrorism and organised crime have been used to spy on people’s kids, pets and bins.

“Without reform, RIPA will continue to be a snoopers’ charter. Surveillance powers should only be used to investigate serious crimes and must require a magistrate’s warrant. Ministers must ensure that this consultation results in real changes and not just warm words.”

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This entry was posted in Big mad database, LDV campaigns and News.
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