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Covert survailance via Regulation of Investigatory powers act

Comment 8th July 2010

This act gives the power for the government to request any infomation from telecommunications services, and makes it a criminal offense to tell anyone about it.

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
Article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

"The government can demand that a public telecommunications service intercepts an individual's communications
The act's "interception warrants" can be served for purposes of "national security", "preventing or detecting serious crime" or "safeguarding the economic well-being of the UK". These (undefined) terms are so vague as to be applicable to just about anyone.

For example, the communications of businessmen negotiating deals with foreign companies could easily fall under "safeguarding of the economic well-being of the UK" within the plain English meaning of the term.

The definition of public telecommunications services is broad and could apply to internet services providers, phone companies, or even someone running a web site.

When an ISP is served with an interception warrant, it has to comply and it may not reveal this fact to anyone ever. "

Reference:

http://www.magnacartaplus.org/bills/rip/#interception

Why does this matter?

There is a higher penalty for revealing a request than non compliance with said request. (I believe it is 5 years jail for revealing a request, 2 years for non compliance).

I believe that this is a highly dangerous act, and quite contrary to our civil liberties.

This needs to be neutered, to allow the use of the act in only certain circumstances (where evidence can be provided and it is deemed nessecary by another agency than the acency initiating the request)

I believe the secrecy, if nessecary, should have a limited shelf life, so as to not impact investigation, but to eventually reveal the requests made. This prevents entirely covert operation, with no fear of recrimination for criminal action on the part of the government.

 

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