Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Big Brother - Councils Continue To Break The Law
It should come as no surprise whatsoever to learn that Nanny's local councils, having been enjoying the taste of power that spying on their local citizens gives them are reluctant to give it up.
Local councils in England are still spying on suspected minor offenders, despite being banned from doing so by law.
The law has forbidden them to spy on minor offenders since 2003, undercover spying methods are only permitted where a criminal law breach is suspected. However, Sir Christopher Rose (chief surveillance commissioner) said that it was of "significant concern" that some local authorities were going beyond what was allowed.
Sir Christopher, in a recently published report, is particularly concerned about "directed surveillance" (bugging of a public place or taking photographs of suspects) and the use of covert human intelligence, such as informants and undercover officers.
He notes that there is "a continuing failure on the part of authorising officers properly to demonstrate that less intrusive methods have been considered and why they have been discounted in favour of the tactic selected".
Factoid: Authorising officers are senior officials in local authorities, government departments and other public bodies who sign off surveillance requests under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
He went on to say:
"A specific act of surveillance may not be intrusive but a combination of acts may enable the construction of a profile; this requires careful consideration when judging whether an individual's private life is subject to interference.
It is not where the CCTV is placed (which may be overt or covert) but the manner in which the camera is used that is determinative of whether the surveillance is covert.
CCTV operators employed by local authorities are required to pass rigorous examination for the use of this controversial equipment, yet it appears that some police officers operate CCTV without obvious qualification."
As is evident, local councils cannot be trusted to stay within the terms/spirit of the law, the powers to bug and spy on people should be removed from them.
As noted elsewhere on this site, the more powers that are given to councils/bouncers/park wardens etc the more they are tempted to use them for their own frivolous reasons/amusement.
Nanny knows this full well, but continues to grant these powers in order to keep the population subdued and fearful.
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