Feeds

Government begins RIPA review

Peeking at snooping laws

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The Government will review the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), the law that governs state tapping of phone, email and internet use. The law will be looked at as part of a wider review of counter-terrorism laws.

Civil liberties campaigners criticised several anti-terrorism laws introduced by the last Labour Government as being restrictive of individual freedoms. The current Conservative and Liberal Democrat coaltion Government will review those laws, claiming its aim is to restore some lost rights.

"The review will look at what counter-terrorism powers and measures could be rolled back in order to restore the balance of civil liberties and counter-terrorism powers," said a Home Office statement on the review.

"National security is the first duty of government but we are also committed to reversing the substantial erosion of civil liberties," said Home Secretary Theresa May. "I want a counter-terrorism regime that is proportionate, focused and transparent. We must ensure that in protecting public safety, the powers which we need to deal with terrorism are in keeping with Britain’s traditions of freedom and fairness."

RIPA powers to monitor citizens' activities could be used not just by police and state security services but also by local authorities to monitor compliance with various laws. Civil liberties campaigners criticised the use of RIPA to monitor residents' compliance with dog fouling or refuse recycling laws.

Security minister Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones told ZDNet UK last week that some local authority uses of RIPA were not acceptable.

"We will reduce the powers of local authorities," she said. "It's a question of how many bodies have powers and what powers they have. We want to create a situation which is less intrusive on the part of local authorities into the lives of ordinary citizens."

The Government review could also examine existing rules that force telecoms companies and ISPs to store records of individuals’ use of their systems on behalf of the authorities.

The Home Office said that its review would examine "the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) by local authorities, and access to communications data more generally".

The review will be overseen by Liberal Democrat peer and former director of public prosecutions Lord Ken Macdonald.

"We will look at the evidence presented to us and where it is clear that legislation needs to be amended or powers need to be rolled back, we will do," said May.

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

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

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.