Feeds

UK Attorney general backs legalising of phone-tap evidence

Cites US wire-tapping success

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

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.

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.