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Amianthus

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Phone spies
« on: June 10, 2008, 08:46:32 AM »
Phone spies: Town halls using anti-terror powers to bug residents' calls and emails

By James Slack

Town hall snoopers used controversial anti-terror powers to delve into the phone and email records of thousands of people last year.

They wanted to check for evidence of dog smuggling and storing petrol without permission  -  and even to trace a suspected bogus faith healer.

In one case they were inquiring into unburied animal carcasses.

Some councils are allowing middle-ranking staff to authorise covert operations under the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which is intended for use 'in the interests of national security'.

Many of those spied upon will have no idea they have been subjected to surveillance, as those who are innocent have no right to know.

Last night Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: 'This is a stark demonstration of how the surveillance society has got out of control with the improper use of very broad powers  -  powers that the public would expect to be used only for serious crime and security threats.'

Using Freedom of Information laws, 152 local councils were asked if they were using the power to intercept details of who a person phoned or emailed plus when and where the call took place.

The answers revealed that town halls looked into the private data of 936 individuals and only 31 councils did not use these powers at all.

If the same pattern were repeated across the remaining 322 councils, it would make a totalof around 3,000 people having their phone and email records accessed by bureaucrats.
Jenny Paton and Tim Joyce

The Freedom of Information requests also revealed the range of offences councils have used the anti-terror law to probe.

Kent County Council carried out 23 telephone subscriber checks as part of probes into storing petrol without a licence and bringing a dog into the UK without putting it into quarantine.

Six of the 16 checks carried out by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council were intended to identify and locate a bogus faith healer.

Lewisham Borough Council's 18 checks included six on a rogue removal firm and one on a rogue pharmacist.

Bolton Council requested subscriber details for a mobile phone number in connection with a probe into unburied animal carcasses.

Snoopers at Birmingham City Council carried out 89 checks, the most in the survey.

Councils insist they are using the powers properly to investigate or prevent a crime.

But opponents said it proves RIPA, passed in 2000 by Labour to regulate spying and surveillance by police and the security services, is far too widely drawn.

Civil rights group Liberty said: 'You can care about serious crime and terrorism without throwing away our personal privacy with a snoopers' charter.

'The law must be reformed to require sign-off by judges, not selfauthorisation by over-zealous bureaucrats.'

RIPA also allows undercover council staff to watch individuals.

Operations can be justified on the grounds of anything from national security to 'protecting public health or public safety', 'preventing a crime' and 'protecting the economic well-being of the UK'.

This can cover dog fouling and even putting out a sack of rubbish on the wrong day.

The latest findings follow a string of alarming examples of how the anti-terror power is being used.

Poole council in Dorset spied on a family because it wrongly suspected the parents of abusing rules on school catchment areas.

Officials in Derby, Bolton, Gateshead and Hartlepool admitted using covert spying techniques to deal with dog fouling, while Bolton spied on suspected litter louts.

Officials in Kensington and Chelsea used RIPA powers to spy on a resident suspected of misusing a disabled parking badge.

Conwy council in Wales spied on an employee who was working while off sick.

Mirza Ahmad, chief legal officer at Birmingham City Council, said: 'We are committed to putting citizens first and will use whatever powers exist, where appropriate, to catch rogue traders, doorstep criminals and scam artists who prey on some of the most vulnerable in our society.'

The Home Office said a person investigated using the Act would not be told by a council. It would only come to light in the event of a prosecution.

Original Article
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Cynthia

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Re: Phone spies
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2008, 01:46:18 PM »
Hey Ami,

Can you show me how to shrink a URL link  as you have done here (with a sort of "link cover")

Thanks,
Cynthia

sirs

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Re: Phone spies
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2008, 01:51:12 PM »
ami helped me too.  You click on the "insert hyperlink" icon above



then you paste in your current link, I'll use ami's

[url]http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1024162/Phone-spies-Town-halls-using-anti-terror-powers-bug-residents-calls-emails.html#]


then you paste in your current link, I'll use ami's

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1024162/Phone-spies-Town-halls-using-anti-terror-powers-bug-residents-calls-emails.html#

then you remove the 1st ] and replace it with a =
and you finish with adding a ] just before the 2nd [ and add whatever your term you want to use

whatever term you want to use

It looks more complicated than it is
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Cynthia

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Re: Phone spies
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2008, 01:52:18 PM »

Amianthus

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Re: Phone spies
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2008, 03:05:03 PM »
Can you show me how to shrink a URL link  as you have done here (with a sort of "link cover")

Code: [Select]
[url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1024162/Phone-spies-Town-halls-using-anti-terror-powers-bug-residents-calls-emails.html#]Original Article[/url]
You could also use TinyURL to make the embedded URL smaller. TinyURL shrinks the above code down to:

Code: [Select]
[url=http://tinyurl.com/636ksl]Original Article[/url]
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

Cynthia

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Re: Phone spies
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2008, 12:23:48 AM »
Can you show me how to shrink a URL link  as you have done here (with a sort of "link cover")

Code: [Select]
[url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1024162/Phone-spies-Town-halls-using-anti-terror-powers-bug-residents-calls-emails.html#]Original Article[/url]
You could also use TinyURL to make the embedded URL smaller. TinyURL shrinks the above code down to:

Code: [Select]
[url=http://tinyurl.com/636ksl]Original Article[/url]

Ami,
There is also a hyperlink in the Microsoft WORD on my computer. How do I cut and paste that link to the board?

Cynthia

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Re: Phone spies
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2008, 12:27:58 AM »
Sirs,
Thanks for you help today with the Hyperlink.

I have Windows Microsoft Word...as do we all.....Have you used that to paste a link to the board?

Cynthia

sirs

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Re: Phone spies
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2008, 12:41:02 AM »
Nope, can't say I have.  In fact I've never used a word processor in the chat forums, just copy & paste from articles and reports, using the right clicking of the mouse
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Amianthus

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Re: Phone spies
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2008, 11:14:35 AM »
There is also a hyperlink in the Microsoft WORD on my computer. How do I cut and paste that link to the board?

Hold down the CTRL key while clicking on the link. It should fire up your browser with the link. Then, select the link from the address bar and press CTRL-C. Switch over to your post, and press CTRL-V to insert the link. Then you can put the URL tags around it.
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

Cynthia

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Re: Phone spies
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2008, 02:48:16 PM »
There is also a hyperlink in the Microsoft WORD on my computer. How do I cut and paste that link to the board?

Hold down the CTRL key while clicking on the link. It should fire up your browser with the link. Then, select the link from the address bar and press CTRL-C. Switch over to your post, and press CTRL-V to insert the link. Then you can put the URL tags around it.

I was able to do it the way Sirs explained it. I had noticed there is a hyperlink on my Micorsoft word, as well and was curious about it.
 BUt thanks, Ami.
Cynthia
loved this site, btw

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