Who remains to give surveillance powers to?
Towns halls, along with police, security services and other public bodies will be able to view “communications” details of any one suspected of crime.
But critics fear the move will simply pave the way for authorities to spy on millions of citizens and taxpayers.
The power is contained in a new statutory order quietly laid before parliament yesterday.
If approved, it will come into effect from next month and cost the public more than £46 million to set up and run over the next eight years. …
Since 2007, phone companies have had to retain data about calls for 12 months and hand it over to more than 650 public bodies.
Parliament approved the powers, described as a vital tool against terrorism, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
But under the latest order that is to be extended to all communications, including the internet.
It is implementing the controversial EU Directive 2006/24/EC, on the retention of communications data, said records would only be available “to assist in the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime”.
Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said: “It is the Government’s priority to protect public safety and national security.
It is not the Government’s duty, however, to prioritise public safety or national security above all other considerations.
That is why we are completing the implementation of this directive, which will bring the UK in line with our European counter parts.
“Communications data is the what, where and when of the communication and plays a vital part in a wide range of criminal investigations, and prevention of terrorists attacks as well as contributing to public safety more generally. Without communications data resolving crimes such as the Rhys Jones murder would be very difficult if not impossible.
OK, he either does not know what he is talking about or he is deliberately conflating intrusive surveillance (e.g. bugs) – which aided the convictions in the Rhys Jones case – with mass surveillance (e.g. recording everyone’s telecoms), i.e. lying.
“Access to communications data is governed by Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) which ensures that effective safeguards are in place and that the data can only be accessed when it is necessary and proportionate to do so”.
Another falsehood – the law does not “ensure” that “effective safeguards are in place” or “that the data can only be accessed when it is necessary and proportionate to do so”, any more than it ensures I can’t make defamatory claims about Coaker’s predilection for terminological inexactitude.