The latest report from the Interception of Communications Commissioner affords us a glimpse of the true scale of official surveillance in modern Britain. It shows us that some 500,000 requests for access to private email and phone data came from public bodies in 2008 – and that this included an astonishing 1,500 requests for surveillance powers from town councils.
We know a little about what these requests from councils were for. Cases have emerged of local authorities using the powers to monitor individuals suspected of littering, fly-tipping and dog fouling.
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