xenophanean: (Default)
[personal profile] xenophanean
I've just heard, from Question Time on BBC1, that local councils have most of the surveillance powers that the police used to have.

They can tap your phone, access your e-mail, or even have you followed. What's really disturbing is that they don't need much (if any) legal backup to do this (i.e. court orders etc.), and they can do it for any reason they want as long as it's in some way related to a criminal offence (meaning any criminal offence).

This means that if a local council has a problem with you, it can decide to invade your privacy. Perhaps they think one of your children might be a graffiti artist, so tap your phones, and force access to your child's e-mail. Maybe they think you aren't following dog litter procedures, so they have you followed.

Puts the whole American privacy thing into perspective really. The Federal Government were tapping people's phones to look for "potential terrorists" and there was an outcry. All the while our local councils were tapping the phones of, well, anyone they wanted really, and we barely even knew about it.

The bill in question (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) was brought in to help "tackle terrorism".
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