Saturday, December 09, 2006

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act

The above act (RIPA) was pointed out to me by someone commenting on a post elsewhere (I cannot remember where) with the advice that it ought to worry sane liberal people.

Well, to be honest, it does. It gives me the willys, so to speak.

Take a look at the text of the RIP Act and tell me you're not scared by it. You can be spied upon by your government for what, on the face of it, are good reasons (you're a criminal etc.) but there are some appalling reasons there too.

Section 22 sets out the reasons you can be spied upon by your own government:

Section 22 says:
It is necessary on grounds falling within this subsection to obtain communications data if it is necessary-

(a) in the interests of national security;
(b) for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder;
(c) in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom;
(d) in the interests of public safety;
(e) for the purpose of protecting public health;
(f) for the purpose of assessing or collecting any tax, duty, levy or other imposition, contribution or charge payable to a government department;
(g) for the purpose, in an emergency, of preventing death or injury or any damage to a person's physical or mental health, or of mitigating any injury or damage to a person's physical or mental health; or
(h) for any purpose (not falling within paragraphs (a) to (g)) which is specified for the purposes of this subsection by an order made by the Secretary of State.
Now section (h) here requires both Houses of Parliament to review the draft order, but what the hell does (c) mean if it's not the same as (b)?

How do you measure (d) and doesn't (f) tell you all you need to know about road pricing?