Who’s Checking your telephone or email records?

According to an article published in the Telegraph, councils, police and other public bodies are seeking access to people’s private telephone and email records almost 1,400 times a day in the UK.

The authorities made more than 500,000 requests for confidential communications data last year, equivalent to spying on one in every 78 adults.

These requests for information have been made under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. The Act gives authorities – including councils, the police and intelligence agencies – the power to request access to confidential communications data, including lists of telephone numbers dialled and email addresses to which messages have been sent to. The powers given within the ACT were originally intended to tackle terrorism and organised crime, but it is believed that many of the request have been for crimes as trivial as ‘dog fowling’.

In 2008 promises were made to crack down on the miss use of such powers, but last year of a total 504,073 requests, 1,553 requests for communications data came from 123 local councils.

Sir Paul Kennedy, the interception of communications commissioner, reviews requests made under the Act. Sir Paul reported 595 errors in interception requests last year, including mistakes by MI5 and MI6, the intelligence agencies, where the wrong accounts had been monitored due to administrative errors.

While i am all in favour of laws that help prevent serious crimes like terrorism, i can’t believe that 1 in 78 of us are suspected or terrorism or organised crime, and i would question whether my local council need any such powers at all, and as for organizations such as MI5/6 requesting information on the wrong accounts that is not only beyond believe, but potentially putting lives at risk if they are indeed looking into potential terror suspects.

Who’s Checking your telephone or email records?

3 thoughts on “Who’s Checking your telephone or email records?

  1. Thanks for that link Pete, its really interesting. I think I heard his radio interview on radio 4 a while ago. There was a whole discussion about the Independent Safeguarding Authority, who’s chief concern was about situations were contractors have the opportunity to build up relationships with kids over a period of time, and they failed to draw a distinction between a parent that might go into a school once a week to coach a football team and a guest speaker than may visit a school only once. It also begged the question about parents visiting schools for parents evenings etc.

    I had not realised the extent of the database corruption issue, although i understand that there are similar issues with the dvla database etc.

  2. Yes, Many thanks for that link Pete, the article was not only thought provoking but also a very interesting read, and something that needs some serious consideration.



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