Feeds

Spy regs used against dogs, litterbugs

More RIPA wheezes

Website security in corporate America

Local councils are using snooping laws - the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act - to follow dog walkers suspected of letting their dogs crap on public land and people suspected of littering.

RIPA is meant to control how investigating bodies like the police and secret services can snoop on citizens' communications and movements. But the Press Association has found that 46 councils used the legislation 1,343 times against residents.

Derby City Council, Bolton, Gateshead and Hartlepool all used RIPA powers to snoop on dog fouling, and Bolton used powers under the Act to investigate littering.

The most prolific user of the Act was Durham County Council which used the legislation 131 times. A spokesman for the Council told The Register: "We used the Act almost exclusively against traders suspected of selling counterfeit goods or suspected of selling age-restricted products to kids. Not against people taking their dogs for a walk."

Lobby group Privacy International said it was time for a proper review of the laws. It also questioned the cost of a local council running such a snooping operation against relatively minor offences.

Last month it emerged that Poole Council used RIPA to spy on a family it suspected of dishonestly applying for a school place.

PA contacted 97 councils and got replies from 46. 16 councils said they did not use the Act, 16 did not respond and 19 said they would only release the information if they received a formal Freedom of Information request.

RIPA regulates how authorities can use physical surveillance and phone records and other communications. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.