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Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

Comment 1st July 2010

The RIPA regulates the manner in which certain public bodies may conduct surveillance and access a person's electronic communications. The Act:

  • enables certain public bodies to demand that an ISP provide access to a customer's communications in secret;
  • enables mass surveillance of communications in transit;
  • enables certain public bodies to demand ISPs fit equipment to facilitate surveillance;
  • enables certain public bodies to demand that someone hand over keys to protected information;
  • allows certain public bodies to monitor people's internet activities;
  • prevents the existence of interception warrants and any data collected with them from being revealed in court.

Why does this matter?

This Act is a coverall for any secretive acts by any of a whole host of council and non-governmental bodies – here is an incomplete list
Communications data

The type of communications data that can be accessed varies with the reason for its use, and cannot be adequately explained here. Refer to the legislation for more specific information.

    * Charity Commission
    * Criminal Cases Review Commission
    * Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service
    * a county council or district council in England, a London borough council, the Common Council of the City of London in its capacity as a local authority, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, and any county council or county borough council in Wales
    * Department for Transport, for the purposes of:
          o Marine Accident Investigation Branch
          o Rail Accident Investigation Branch
          o Air Accidents Investigation Branch
          o Maritime and Coastguard Agency
    * a district council within the meaning of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972
    * Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland
    * Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for Northern Ireland (for the purposes of Trading Standards)
    * Department of Health (for the purposes of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency)
    * Department of Trade and Industry
    * Environment Agency
    * Financial Services Authority
    * a fire and rescue authority
    * Fire Authority for Northern Ireland
    * Food Standards Agency
    * Gambling Commission
    * Gangmasters Licensing Authority
    * Government Communications Headquarters
    * Health and Safety Executive
    * HM Revenue and Customs
    * Home Office (for the purposes of the UK Border Agency)
    * Independent Police Complaints Commission
    * Information Commissioner
    * a Joint Board where it is a fire authority
    * Ofcom
    * Office of Fair Trading
    * The Pensions Regulator
    * Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
    * Port of Dover Police
    * Port of Liverpool Police
    * Post Office Investigation Branch
    * Postal Services Commission
    * NHS ambulance service Trust
    * NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service
    * Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Services Trust
    * Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Central Services Agency
    * Royal Navy Regulating Branch
    * Royal Military Police
    * Royal Air Force Police
    * Scottish Ambulance Service Board
    * a Scottish council where it is a fire authority
    * Scottish Environment Protection Agency
    * Secret Intelligence Service
    * Security Service
    * Serious Fraud Office
    * the special police forces (including the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency)
    * the territorial police forces
    * Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

Directed surveillance & covert human intelligence sources

The reasons for which the use of directed surveillance & covert human intelligence sources is permitted vary with each authority. Refer to the legislation for more specific information.

    * the armed forces
    * Charity Commission
    * Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection
    * a county council or district council in England, a London borough council, the Common Council of the City of London in its capacity as a local authority, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, and any county council or county borough council in Wales
    * Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (for the purposes of the Marine Fisheries Agency)
    * Department of Health (for the purposes of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency)
    * Department of Trade and Industry
    * Department for Transport (for the purposes of transport security, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, Driving Standards Agency and Maritime and Coastguard Agency)
    * Department for Work and Pensions
    * Environment Agency
    * Financial Services Authority
    * a fire authority
    * Food Standards Agency
    * Gambling Commission
    * Gangmasters Licensing Authority
    * Government Communications Headquarters
    * Commissioners of Revenue and Customs
    * Home Office (for the purposes of HM Prison Service and the UK Border Agency)
    * Ministry of Defence
    * National Assembly for Wales (for the purposes of the NHS Directorate, NHS Finance Division, Common Agricultural Policy Management Division and Care Standards Inspectorate for Wales)
    * Northern Ireland Office (for the purposes of the Northern Ireland Prison Service)
    * Ofcom
    * Office of Fair Trading
    * Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
    * Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
    * Postal Services Commission
    * Port of Dover Police
    * Port of Liverpool Police
    * Royal Mail
    * Secret Intelligence Service
    * Security Service
    * Serious Fraud Office
    * a territorial police force or special police force

Directed surveillance

The reasons for which the use of directed surveillance is permitted vary with each authority. Refer to the legislation for more specific information.

    * Health & Safety Executive
    * Information Commissioner
    * Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools in England (for the purposes of the Complaints, Investigation and Enforcement Team)
    * Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

Why should this list of bodies have the right to secretly snoop upon UK Citizens?

Why are all cases held in private, with no press?

Why is justice never seen to be done in cases involving the RIPA?

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