Feeds

UK Attorney general backs legalising of phone-tap evidence

Cites US wire-tapping success

High performance access to file storage

Phone-tap evidence could be admitted as evidence in court as the attorney general signals a change in UK Government policy. Lord Goldsmith told The Guardian newspaper that phonetap evidence is a "key tool" that should be used.

Goldsmith, the Government's senior law officer, indicated that the current laws banning wiretap evidence could be changed in a bid to fight organised crime.

"I'm personally convinced we have to find a way of avoiding the difficulties," he said. "I do believe there are ways we can do that. Otherwise we're depriving ourselves of a key tool to prosecute serious and organised crime and terrorism".

Goldsmith is currently on a visit to the US where he has discussied the use of wire-tap evidence with the attorney general there, Alberto Gonzales. "What I'm being told here is that the admissibility of intercept evidence is critical to some of their most difficult cases," he told The Guardian. "They have put the top five mafia bosses in prison as a result of it."

Official government policy is still to maintain the ban on phone-tap evidence, and security services and police have backed the ban amidst worries that investigation techniques would become apparent via the recordings.

Prosecutors have also traditionally worried about the lifting of the ban because of the volumes of material that defendants might request. "We may need help from the legislature and the judges to avoid the agencies being swamped with irrelevant requests," said Goldsmith.

The news of Goldsmith's change of heart comes as 20 Italians, many of them police, were arrested over wire-tap evidence abuse. Phone company security chiefs and police are implicated in a case involving the gathering of surveillance on celebrities, footballers and politicians dating as far back as 1997.

Reports from Italy suggest that the leaking of wire-tap evidence to the press is commonplace in the run up to trials.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.