Public bodies request powers under 'snoopers' charter'

 

Public bodies today indicated they would push to be given powers under a new law dubbed a “snooper's charter”.

Police and security services will be able to track suspects through their use of emails and websites in a bid to prevent problems catching criminals such as paedophiles and terrorists. But other authorities have not been named in the new legislation.

The UK Border Agency told MPs it needed powers under the Communications Data Bill to keep up with the technological advances enjoyed by criminals.

Gillian McGregor, UKBA director of operational intelligence, told a joint committee examining the proposals: "The serious criminals we deal with on the immigration and customs side are making increasing use of more sophisticated internet and smartphone techniques to communicate so I think it (the Bill) would potentially give us more options.

"We are looking to be able to retain the ability to keep up with the communications that the criminals we are dealing with are using.

"We understand that because technology is progressing the current information is perhaps not the whole story."

Under the reforms announced by Home Secretary Theresa May last month local authorities will not be able to track internet data and will also be stripped of their current powers to access information about phone calls.

But the LGA said today it had been advised by the Home Office that if councils wanted powers it would need to make a business case.

Cllr Paul Bettison, LGA regulatory champion, told the committee he was not seeking extra powers but wanted to retain those they already have.

"Not allowing local authorities these powers would leave councils without the necessary tools to protect their residents," he said.

He told MPs benefit fraud was difficult to prove and warned it was vital that councils were "seen to have the powers" to tackle crime.

The draft Bill does not introduce real-time monitoring or allow the content of communications to be subject to surveillance.

Ministers insists the reforms will enable law enforcement agencies to keep track with modern technology that is being exploited by criminals but critics claim the move compromises privacy.

Isabella Sankey, director of policy for civil rights organisation Liberty, said: "The Government's Snoopers' Charter will mean that billions of records of emails, phone calls and texts will be recorded for future monitoring.

"Unsurprisingly we now see local councils and other public bodies already pushing for access to the phone and web habits of the entire population.

"When the coalition came together they claimed to value our personal privacy - do they still mean it?"

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future