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RIP tribunal dismisses 470 privacy violations

Source: Internet Magazine
Date: November 06, 2003

Cyber Crime Every complaint of privacy violation made under the UK's controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act has so far been dismissed at tribunal.

The RIP Act was passed in 2000, giving police, intelligence services and the Inland Revenue powers to access to communications data, such as the names and addresses of website subscribers.

It was dubbed the 'snoopers charter' last year, after Home Secretary David Blunkett tried to extend its powers to 24 government agencies.

An Investigatory Powers Tribunal was also set up to protect UK citizens against unfair use of the act. Home Office official Simon Watkins told a Parliamentary meeting on Monday that 470 complaints have been made to the tribunal so far and all had been dismissed.

The Home Office contends that the 470 complaints of privacy violation made to the Tribunal were dismissed because they were without grounds.

"It shows that the complainants either weren't under surveillance at all, or that their communications data was being lawfully intercepted," said Watkins, according to ZDNet.

The news comes as Parliament considers new regulations on UK communications data, including giving access to overseas investigatory authorities.

The UK has already signed the new Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention, which has been ratified by Albania, Estonia and Croatia, and allows for mutual law enforcement assistance between EU countries.

"The low standard of evidence or authentication demanded for these transfers creates exceptional dangers to many ethnic and other groups in the UK," warned human rights group Privacy International.

"The conditions for sharing this information are such that the transfer does not have to involve dual-criminality."

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