Thursday, 5 November 2009

Absent fathers hiding in wheelie - bins?

Formerly 1,600 officials could authorise access to communications records and order surveillance operations under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). Only director-level bureaucrats will now be able to do so. As this may mean that fewer people may be charged for putting out their bins on the wrong day I was going to give some grudging praise to Alan Johnson but have now changed my mind.

We now find that investigators from the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC), which has taken over the Child Support Agency, are to have access to phone and e-mail records. This will evidently allow it to find some 5,000 missing parents who are refusing to pay towards their children's upkeep. See here.

"The use of intercept in evidence characterises a central dilemma we face as a free society - that of preserving our liberties and the rule of law, while at the same time keeping our nation safe and secure....
.....It should be possible to find a way to use some intercept material as evidence, provided - and only provided - that certain key conditions can be met. These conditions relate to the most vital imperative of all - that of safeguarding our national security."

Prime Minister, Gordon Brown

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