Friday, November 6, 2009

A strange use of the word "minimally"

RIPA the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 was supposed to be used to counter terrorism, yet because of loose legislation it became apparent that the power was being abused by councils and other regulatory bodies to spy on people whom the suspected of simply breaking rules and bye laws.

As the Telegraph reports.

Poole Borough Council admitted at a tribunal hearing that Jenny Paton, her boyfriend and three children were not the only family placed under surveillance using the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to resolve questions over school admissions.
Miss Paton and her family, supported by the human rights group Liberty, have taken the council to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in London accusing it of invading their right to family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, announced plans earlier this week to curb the use of the act, designed for combating terrorism and serious crime, for trivial matters.
Almost 800 public bodies, including 433 local authorities, can use the legislation to carry out surveillance and intercept communications under the legislation, which has been nicknamed a "snoopers' charter".
Councils launched nearly 10,000 spying missions last year alone, including surveillance of petty matters such as so-called "bin crimes".
 The councils excuse was that a place at the school was "educational gold dust" and said the council was right to tackle allegation of parents lying to gain places. Except they weren't lying of course, nor was there any reason to assume they were, despite having recently purchased a new home. The council then compounded their culpability by saying...
"It was minimally invasive of privacy. For the most part we were just driving past the house and looking.
"In as far as surveillance involves something more than driving past the property, which was only on six occasions, the complainants were only ever observed on public highways or in public places.
"So there's no suggestion saying that the complainants were ever observed in their home."
It's still using a piece of anti-terrorist legislation to observe and report on an innocent family and it's not the only time they've used it. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal heard the council used the act to spy on other families on two other occasions.The abuse of this act needs to come to an end, Labour brought it in for various reasons mostly to do with the fact that they had invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and "needed" to protect us.

Now we're so well protected that councils use it to spy on us! When will this ever end? Why can't they just leave us alone and restore our ancient rights? They know they've gone to far yet instead of repealing the act all they do is tinker around the edges and give out guidelines. When will the politicians and their agencies start treating us like adults?

Or am I living on a different planet and indulging in wishful thinking?

1 annotations:

Edgar said...

The time has already arrived when the only recourse that people have is themselves. There is so much official intrusion into our lives that only we, the people, can take back out privacy. unfortunately, it is likely that we could only do that by force.