29 July 2010

Surveillance state

The Coalition government promised to "ban the use of powers in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) by councils, unless they are signed off by a magistrate and required for stopping serious crime."

The gross abuse of RIPA by local councils to spy on possible misdemeanours are detailed in this pdf from Big Brother Watch

So now the Chief Surveillance Commissar Commissioner has issued his Annual Report into Surveillance in the United Kingdom, which confirms that RIPA requests continue to spiral upwards, yet dismisses public concerns in a couple of paragraphs suggesting the problem is blown out of proportion by the media.

So, in keeping with the mantras of openness and transparency, a sense of proportion will be restored by revealing details of errors and abuses - right? Of course not - the number of such lapses:
. . . is very small when it is compared to the numbers of requests for data which are made nationally. I am not convinced that any useful purpose would be served by providing a more detailed report of these errors. I should add that neither I nor any of my inspectors have uncovered any willful or reckless conduct which has been the cause of these errors.
The man in Whitehall knows best - you peasants should just shut up and be grateful.

No comments:

Post a Comment