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Petty Police State UK

31 May 2008 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in surveillance | No Comments »

They wouldn’t be suspects if they weren’t guilty, right? Move along folks, show’s over, nothing to see here…

From The Times Online:

Terror law turns thousands of council officials into spies

Thousands of middle managers in local councils are being authorised to spy on people suspected of petty offences using powers designed to prevent crime and terrorism.

INGSOC logo patch created by lademocracia.es @ flickr.com

INGSOC logo patch created by lademocracia.es @ flickr.com

Even junior council officials are being allowed to initiate surveillance operations in what privacy campaigners likened to Eastern bloc police tactics.

[…]

Councils are increasingly allowing anyone of a “service manager” grade rather than high-ranking officials with a legal background to authorise surveillance operations. Relatively junior council officials are giving permission for operations to spy on people, their homes, obtain their telephone records and discover who they are e-mailing.

[…]

Last year, councils and government departments made 12,494 applications for “directed surveillance”, according to figures released by the Office of the Surveillance Commissioner. This was almost double the number for the previous year. Applications from police and other law enforcement agencies fell during the same period, to about 19,000. Councils have admitted using the Act to spy on people committing minor offences such as fly-tipping, failing to pick up dog mess, and littering.

[…]

“It’s all part of the increasing surveillance state.”


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