The UK Government published on Monday the delayed draft code of practice for law enforcement authorities wishing to invoke powers under the controversial cyber snooping law, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act.
Under the proposed code, a police inspector could obtain account and subscriber information for phone or internet users if they suspect that doing so could prevent public disorder.
More details about individuals could be authorised by a police superintendent or equivalent. Interested parties have until 2 November to comment on the draft code.
The full list of agencies that can invoke the Act includes the police, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the National Crime Squad, Customs and Excise, the Inland Revenue, the security services, the Secret Intelligence Service and GCHQ officials.
Allowable reasons for looking at communications data are: interests of national security; the prevention or detection of crime or disorder; the economic well being of the UK; public safety; the protection of public health; and the assessment or collection of any tax, duty, levy or other imposition, or contribution or charge payable to a government department.
RIP has been criticised for being prohibitive to the development of ecommerce in the UK because of the scope of the Act's powers and the cost to industry of implementing them. The Government has also found it difficult to square RIP with laws on data protection and human rights.
You can read the draft code of practice here.
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