BBC Using Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to track down licence fee dodgers

Alasdair Glennie and Harriet Arkell report in the Mail Online that the BBC has been using Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to track down television licence fee dodgers.

This information emerged during questioning at Commons culture, media and sport committee.  Although the BBC has admitted using RIPA, it has refused to say when and how often citing the reason for the secrecy was: “to ensure people without a valid TV licence don’t use this information to their advantage”.

John Whittingdale MP, who chairs the culture committee, highlighted that there were questions to be asked over the BBC’s use of RIPA powers and added that:

“The problem is, the BBC won’t tell us how it is being used, or in what circumstances. That means we can’t be sure it is being used properly. This legislation was designed to fight terrorism and organised crime. I can’t imagine it was intended for people who don’t pay their TV licence.”

Police use loophole to hack phones and email

Dominic Kennedy reports* in the Times that Police are using a loophole in the law to allow them to access voice mails, text messages and e-mails without the knowledge of senders or recipients.

Interception of live phone messages, texts and e-mails require a warrant granted by the Home Secretary; however, the Police are able to get round this once the messages are stored by use of a Production Order.  These orders are granted by a Circuit Judge, but are outside of the remit of the Interception of Communications Commissioner and hence are not subject to any over site.

The investigation by the Times suggests that many Police Forces are using Production Orders on a regular basis, with the mobile phone operator EE stating that they received about 150 requests a month.

*The Times online is a subscription service and a subscription is required to read the full article.

Internet of Things will require new forms of consent

Graeme Burton reports on the Computing website that the European Union’s Article 29 Working Party has concluded that the so called internet of things will need new forms of informed consent.

The Working Party believes that current methods for obtaining consent for data use, which were devised in the 1980s, may be difficult to apply to the internet of things because these methods only provide “low quality consent”.

According to law firm Pinsent Masons, the EU is shifting thinking from the idea of consent as a one-time approval to a more granular, case-by-case approach.

Police’s use of Ripa powers to snoop on journalists to be reined in

Patrick Wintour reports in the Guardian that the Government is to reform the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), to prevent the Police using the surveillance powers it provides to discover journalistic sources.

Simon Huges the Justice Minister said that in future it would require the authorisation of a judge for a police force to be able to access journalists’ phone records in pursuit of a criminal investigation.

It follows a series of revelations that Police had used RIPA to access the phone records of Mail on Sunday journalists (click here for story) and the Sun’s Political Editor (click here for story).