UK Phonetap Laws Breach Privacy
Thursday, 03 July 2008 07:35

UK Government phone-tapping practices violate the right to privacy.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the UK government violates the privacy of citizens and described the the government's discretion and 'virtually unfettered'.

What that means in simple terms is that the government is free to snoop on our telephone and other communications and doesn't have to ask anyone or tell anyone what is going on. The ruling also says the rules about storage of recording and transcripts (intercepted materials) should be open to public scrutiny. In short the government collects and records a whole lot of information but tells no-one and there is no way for people to find out about it.

Given this government's record of losing data and failing to do anything about it this is a very serious situation.

The case centres on phone tapping of conversations between the UK and Ireland and was first raised by the Irish Government. At the time UK Labour Ministers would not even talk about it, saying they could neither confirm of deny the allergations. That's doubletalk and code for 'yes it's happening but we don't want to know or talk about it'.

The Home Office has said it will 'carefully consider the judgement' another coded message that means the UK government doesn't want to hear this and will do nothing but keep snooping.

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