It was announced on Thursday 16th April that councils were to be limited in the use of RIPA powers. Sadly, there is no immediate restriction of the use of RIPA, as many sites have reported, but only a planned review, with the potentail to restrict the laws.
But, looking at the transcript of Jaqui Smiths statement, does not bode well for the future. Ms Smith stated, “I .. want to make sure that there is proper oversight of the use of these powers which is why I am considering creating a role for elected councillors in overseeing the way in which local authorities use RIPA techniques.”
In the same speechm she also stated “The government has absolutely no interest in spying on law-abiding people going about their everyday lives“, this statment comes from the Home Secreary of a government that introduced laws to monitor peoples emails, web activity, collect DNA, and fingerprints of innocent people, and created the most comprehensive CCTV survellience state in the world.
The idea that elected councillors, the very ones who allow this activity to occur in their councils, would provide any sort of oversight is ludicrous. Local councillors, on average, take home £4000 a year(that’s four thousand, not fourty thousand), this is hardly a financial incentive to behave responsibly, and councillors are elected with an incredibly low percentage of the public. In fact the day after the Government stated it was going to review the use of survellience, there was a protest in Peterborough, as councillors were trying to force CCTV inside taxis.