'Snooper's charter' to be unveiled
Date: May 22, 2003
Ministers are to announce radically scaled-down plans to give state agencies powers to access telephone, Internet and e-mail records.
The plans were dubbed the "snooper's charter" when Home Secretary David Blunkett was forced to climb down last June.
Officials had planned to allow a vast range of public bodies - including seven Whitehall departments, all local councils and 11 quangos - the right to demand access to private communications records.
Such powers had previously been the domain only of the police, MI5, MI6, government listening post GCHQ, Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue.
Home Office minister Bob Ainsworth is expected to reveal a new, shorter, list.
Leaks last month suggested only five bodies - each with a serious crime-fighting role - would gain automatic power to access such sensitive data.
They were expected to be the Serious Fraud Office, the UK Atomic Energy Constabulary and the Scottish drug enforcement agency.
Fire authorities and NHS trusts would also get access to investigate suspicious fires or hoax 999 calls.
Organisations named under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) can access subscribers' names and addresses, telephone calls made and received and e-mails. Full Story
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