Feeds

Council's school-snoop-op ruled illegal

'Sinister' catchment area spying disproportionate

The essential guide to IT transformation

Local officials who subjected a Dorset family to covert surveillance to find out if they had lied to get their youngest child into an outstanding primary school acted illegally, a landmark ruling said today.

Poole Borough Council's spying on Jenny Paton, her partner Tim Joyce, and their three daughters was "not proportionate and could not reasonably have been believed to be proportionate", the Investigatory Powers Tribunal found.

The council had claimed it was necessary to follow and film the family for three weeks after receiving phone calls wrongly claiming the family did not live in the catchment area for Lilliput first school. The covert operation was authorised by officials under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), and ony disclosed to Paton by accident.

The Tribunal, which was the first of its kind to hold open hearings, found the operation was illegal under RIPA and breached the Human Rights Act.

Corinna Ferguson, legal officer for Liberty, said: "Intrusive surveillance is vital to fighting terrorism and serious crime but weak legal protections and petty abuses of power bring it into disrepute.

"Former Ministers claimed that the innocent had nothing to fear but the sinister treatment of Jenny and her kids proves that these powers need to be far more tightly restricted and supervised."

The government is currently conducting a review of RIPA with a view to requiring local authorities who want to carry out covert surveillance to obtain a warrant from a magistrate. Currently internal officials are able to give the go-ahead.

The Council accepted the ruling and apologised to the family. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
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'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
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
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?