Feeds

Environment Agency goes to High Court for right to spy

A RIPA idea

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Government officials investigating illegal dumping will go to the High Court in attempt to win similar intrusive surveillance powers to MI5.

The Environment Agency wants its investigators to be able to trespass on private land and bug vehicles.

"They are a useful tool," a spokeswoman said.

The agency today blamed dodgy advice from the Home Office for its earlier use of such techniques, which the Chief Surveillance Commissioner declared may be against the law.

A spokeswoman denied claims in The Daily Telegraph that the agency had continued to use such surveillance techniques despite Sir Christopher Rose's opinion that "any such deployment on a vehicle or property not owned by the agency would constitute Property Interference – which of course the agency was not empowered to do under the Police Act 1997".

The Environment Agency spokeswoman said investigators had suspended use of the techniques when Sir Christopher made his criticisms a year ago.

"We stopped immediately," she said. "The Home Office advice turned out to be incorrect."

Further claims the agency is setting up "a national spy network" were "rubbish", she added.

Investigators however want to restart intrusive surveillance operations and are now awaiting a High Court judgment to settle the legal argument.

According to documents seen by The Daily Telegraph Sir Christopher had in 2007 told the agency to get better legal advice, but at his next inspection last year found the situation unchanged.

"When I raised this matter with the Chief Prosecutor he was disappointed that trespass was still occurring," he said.

While the Environment Agency is among hundreds of public bodies mandated to carry out surveillance under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), it cannot obtain warrants under the Police Act to interfere with private property during operations. That power is reserved for police, customs and the security services.

The Home Office is currently reviewing RIPA after controversy over allegedly disproportionate use of powers by local authorities. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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?
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.