'Cops and public bodies BUNGLE snooping powers by spying on 3,000 law-abiding Brits'

Times claims potential Ripa abuse

Thousands of innocent Brits have reportedly been mistakenly snooped on by UK police and public bodies.

That claim, which involved nearly 3,000 citizens, was made in a Times report (£) on Saturday.

It was alleged that "Authorities routinely use sweeping legal powers to collect phone and internet records secretly". And there are concerns that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (Ripa) was being abused.

According to the report, the records of nearly 3,000 law-abiding Brits were wrongly snatched and scrutinised by fuzz and civil servants during a three-year period.

The Times added that in 11 cases, spying cockups apparently led to folk – among other things – being blamed for crimes they did not commit or collared in error.

In the first half of 2014, the Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office recently said (PDF) that there had been 195 applicant errors, of which 78 per cent of instances involved public officials "submitting the wrong communications address."

'Police using Ripa to snoop on journalists without their consent'

Separately, the Mail on Sunday claimed today that cops from Kent police had used Ripa to reveal the identity of a confidential source who had spoken to journalists at the newspaper about former cabinet minister Chris Huhne.

It's emerged that plods probing Huhne's speeding fraud, used the anti-terrorism powers after ignoring a judge's agreement to protect the source.

According to the Guardian, MPs are to ask police forces across the UK to reveal the extent to which they have secretly spied on journos to gain access to their telephone and email records under Ripa, without first seeking consent.

Home affairs select committee chairman Keith Vaz told the Mail on Sunday: "It is deeply disturbing that the police have hacked into offices of a major UK newspaper. They have struck a serious blow against press freedom." ®

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