Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Licence To Spy - Local Councils

A Licence To Spy - Local CouncilsThe Sunday Telegraph reported that 75% of Nanny's local authorities have used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 over the past year.

The Act gives councils the right to place residents and businesses under surveillance, trace telephone and email accounts and even send staff on undercover missions.

Nanny's councils are using the Act to tackle dog fouling, the unauthorised sale of pizzas and the abuse of the blue badge scheme for disabled drivers.

Durham county council is the biggest user, with just over 100 surveillance operations launched during the period. Newcastle city council used the powers 82 times, and Middlesbrough council 70 times.

Whilst dog fouling, bin crimes, benefit abuse, noise etc are issues that need to be addressed; is the use of RIPA (intended to fight serious crime and terrorism) really the most appropriate response to these issues?

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  1. Anonymous11:12 AM

    The apparent objective of your current government is to criminalise as large a proportion of the population as possible. In this way England will become a prison state where the convicts will be under continuous surveillance and the elite will be able to hide away in secure, no doubt luxurious, redoubts in glorious isolation. This strategy can easily be coupled with the wholesale medicalisation of life with the result that the majority of the population wander the streets in a drugged haze, supplied legally by the great and good pharmaceutical industry no doubt, whilst the rulers are left alone to do exactly as they please. A scenario for a science fiction movie?

  2. Anonymous1:42 PM

    It is interesting to note that the biggest "abusers" of the new powers are Labour controlled councils, although I understand that, Poole Council, a Conservative council, also uses these new powers for purposes they were not intended to be used for.
    The problem with giving local councils powers is that they tend to use them!!

    I agree with Anon above, there does seem to be a drive to criminalise as many of the population as is possible, perhaps the reason for this is to get more ordinary, formally law abiding people onto the new "big brother" databases.

    Just for the record, I don't think anyone on here "whinges" as has been suggested, rather many of us put our views in our own styles....It is my view that, one man's whinge is another man's comment:-))

  3. Anonymous1:58 PM

    Based on the results of recent trials for subjects that RIPA was probably intended to target one might suggest that since it was not fit for that purpose we should at least use it for something. Converting the final outcome into an almost unchallengeable fixed penalty at the last moment would of course be the most desirable course of action from a cost control point of view.

    The public, represented by the juries involved, would seem to be in tune with such things, though in a somewhat piecemeal fashion.

    If one takes the Kingsnorth vandalism verdict this week, for example, one can clearly see that Mr. and Mrs. Kentishperson msut feel that generating electricity is a public danger based on the risks associated with consuming fossil fuels. Quite what the 'activists' will now consider acceptable in all forms of protest we might but guess.

    However come the retrial of the fluid bombers, the repercussions of which have been huge on a worldwide basis and I doubt anyone would want to try to cost them realistically, one might use the Kingsnorth argument as a defence.

    If both the Western World and fossil fuel burning aircraft are a danger to the continued existence of the planet and so a 'protest' centred on putting people off flying by making it a most unpleasant experience could be seen as entirely reasonable.

    As far as the flying bomb protest went they seem to have generated less risk, even to themselves, then those who climbed the Kingsnorth cooling tower. The jury seems to have thought the same way.

    It all reminds me of the Judge in the Oz magazine case back in the Flower Power days who considered 2 of the editors/publishers to be intelligent enough to deserve jail time but the third to be too stupid to be culpable enough to justify the same fate.

    Stupid he may have appeared but given Felix Dennis's subsequent success in creating the Dennis publishing empire worldwide one would have to observe the judge, and by inference the legal system, are quite capable of making some errors of judgement. On the basis of results Richard Neville and the other chaps should also have been considered too stupid to justify a prison sentence.

    But I digress.

    The Kingsnorth result makes me wonder if the good citizens of Kent would support spying by their local councils because they would perceive it as being for the benefit of the majority who, of course, never get even close to breaking ANY laws or regulations.

    I don't live in Kent so would be much happier to see an experiment based on the philosophy occurring there than where I live.

    I commend the experiment to them and look forward to the result being published.


  4. If number 6 will permit a personal reminiscence, I was very involved in organising the defence case for the OZ trial. The schoolboy who drew the jokily rude cartoon of Rupert Bear and Gypsy Granny which triggered the prosecution was the son of a friend of mine.