Feeds

UK wiretap watchdog wants MPs tapped

Report casts spotlight on surveillance Britain

High performance access to file storage

Official figures have revealed that UK law enforcement agencies and other government agencies made 439,000 requests to tap telephones and email addresses in a 15 month period between 2005 and 2006.

A report from the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the UK surveillance watchdog, reports that 4,000 "errors" were made over the report period. Most concerned less serious slip-ups involving lists of telephone calls and individual email addresses, but 67 involved errors that led to the direct interception of communications, The Times reports.

These errors are "unacceptably high", according to Sir Swinton Thomas, the author of the report.

Alongside intelligence agencies (MI5, MI6 and GCHQ) and police forces, local authorities and bodies such as the Financial Services Authority have the authority to request wiretaps. The 795 organisations authorised to tap communications made 439,000 requests. Interception warrants, where granted, normally run for three months or six months, in the case of investigations involving terrorism.

The Interception of Communications Commissioner's report is the first time the extent of state surveillance activities in the UK has been revealed. The report says the interception of communications played a crucial role in the investigation of the 7 July suicide bombing attack on London's transport system.

Despite his criticism of the accuracy of requests, Sir Swinton wants the prohibition against tapping the communication of MPs and peers to be lifted. The block against interception of communication against parliamentarians has existed for 40 years since MI5 agents carried out illegal surveillance of members of Harold Wilson's Labour government.

Ministers had failed to give a good reason why politicians should be treated any differently from other citizens, Sir Swinton argues. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
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.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.