Big Brother Watch slams local councils for spying’ on public
LOCAL authorities have been slammed for using anti-terrorist surveillance legislation to spy’ on the public for trivial breaches of bylaws. They have carried out 8,500 covert operations in the past two years
LOCAL authorities have been slammed for using anti-terrorist surveillance legislation to 'spy' on the public for trivial breaches of bylaws.
Some have used it for gathering evidence of criminal activity, but critics say this should be done by the police, not the town hall.
Councils have authorised 8,500 covert operations under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in past two years, according to 'Big Brother Watch,' a non-partisan campaign against intrusions on privacy and freedom.
The organisation found 372 authorities have conducted surveillance in nearly 8,560 cases since April, 2008.
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"Innocent people have been placed under surveillance for minor things like littering, dog fouling and smoking in a public place," said its director Alex Deane. "These powers have to be taken away from local councils."
Tower Hamlets in London's East End used the powers 59 times, mainly to gather evidence of criminal activity such as drug dealing, youth disorder, criminal damage, illegal money lending, fly tipping, benefit fraud and counterfeit goods.
- 1 Luxury Canary Wharf flats going for lower rent set by the council
- 2 Driver, 18, wanted for driving wrong way through Blackwall Tunnel
- 3 Isle of Dogs man who murdered teenager at Crossharbour DLR sentenced to 27 years
- 4 Fines totalling £361k handed to East End landlords and agents
- 5 Man charged after triple stabbing on night bus in Mile End
- 6 Man killed after fall from Bow tower block
- 7 Go-ahead given for 315 more homes in third stage of Blackwall Reach scheme
- 8 Barts Health NHS Trust reports one of lowest rates of vaccinated staff
- 9 Road and rail disruptions to expect in east London this week
- 10 Man found stabbed on board night bus
"If an alleged wrongdoing is serious enough for covert surveillance, it should be by the police," added Mr Deane.
Tower Hamlets has also been criticised in the past for using cameras for minor traffic offences.