Saturday, May 18, 2024
HomeColumnistsThe Government must keep fighting the Big Brother state - starting with...

The Government must keep fighting the Big Brother state – starting with a review of the last decade’s surveillance orgy

The Government must keep fighting the Big Brother state – starting with a review of the last decade’s surveillance orgy

By Matthew Elliott for the Daily Mail

Published: 10:18 BST, 23 August 2012 | Updated: 10:18 BST, 23 August 2012

12

View comments

Eric Pickles should be commended for the existing RIPA reforms - but more must be done Eric Pickles should be commended for the existing RIPA reforms - but more must be done

Eric Pickles should be commended for the existing RIPA reforms – but more must be done

In May of this year, the Coalition Government passed theProtection of Freedoms Act aiming to make local authorities more accountableand curb their use of surveillance powers provided by the Regulation ofInvestigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000. Thisreform was essential in order to limit the use of surveillance powers by localauthorities and put an end to unnecessary surveillance.

Big BrotherWatch’s latest report, highlighted in the Daily Mail, has shown that while the Protectionof Freedoms Act was long overdue, thereis still a need for further reform of RIPA to ensure that all governmentbodies are using RIPA powers in an accountable and transparent way. The reforms – which Eric Pickles should be congratulated for – mean thatany local authority wishing to use RIPA powers will, from November, have toseek a magistrate’s approval. It is hoped that this higher level ofauthorisation will make local authorities thinktwice about whether it is, in fact, proportionate to use directed surveillance and coverthuman intelligence sources to catch people guilty of fly tipping or allowing their dogs tofoul in public.      

More from Matthew Elliott for the Daily Mail…

  Free flights for American magicians? Find out how YOUR council tax is being wasted on air travel 15/08/12   Taxpayers should fund the democratic process, not Party HQs and spin doctors 14/08/12   Congratulations for saving £5.5billion in Whitehall, but please don’t waste it everywhere else 09/08/12   The latest BBC tax scandal shows how desperately we need to mend Britain’s tax system 23/07/12   Britain’s pay and pension apartheid 13/07/12   A simpler taxation system would ensure Jimmy Carr and Ken Livingstone pay their fair share 21/06/12   It’s time to stop British funding to Argentina 08/06/12   Uncollected taxes shows the need for radical tax simplification 24/05/12   Will forcing all MPs to reveal their tax and income details restore confidence in our political class? 12/04/12   VIEW FULL ARCHIVE When RIPA was brought into law the intention was that itwould be used to help tackle serious crimes and protect national security. Inreality, as seems almost inevitable these days, it ended up being watered down. Hundreds of public bodies were granted powers, from Ofsted to the CharityCommission, without any public accountability or the need to be transparentabout how the powers are being used.Despite the Coalition’s initial efforts, these public authorities– many of which serve no law enforcement function – will still not be requiredto seek a magistrate’s approval. Business as usual for the quangos, it seems. The report, ‘A legacy of suspicion’, highlights thefundamental failings in RIPA, and the need for a thorough review of the pastdecade’s surveillance orgy. For the Home Office to be considering adding to themire of surveillance legislation by making Britain the first democratic stateto monitor our emails, web use and social media messages without any review ofRIPA seems dangerous at best and reckless at worst.  It is clear from this excellent report that the Protection ofFreedoms Act must be the beginning of a serious discussion about civilliberties and privacy in modern Britain. Both of the Coalition parties made theissue of surveillance a key one before the election, and they are running outof time to finish the work they have started to tackle the Big Brother state.

Share or comment on this article:

The Government must keep fighting the Big Brother state – starting with a review of the last decade’s surveillance orgy

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular