News item

Rapid review of counter-terrorism powers

ConsultationThe Macdonald Review of key counter-terrorism and security powers will look at what counter-terrorism powers and measures could be rolled back in order to restore the balance of civil liberties and counter-terrorism powers. TSI has contributed to the review in relation to one of six key areas: the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) by local authorities, and access to communications data more generally. Read our response

Historically, trading standards officers (or their earlier equivalents) have used covert activities to enforce a range of laws without any issues of invasions of privacy, public criticism or the need for judicial authorisation restrictions. Local authorities would wish to be part of the RIPA regulated regime with external oversight.

Unfortunately, the opportunity for informed debate about councils’ use of RIPA has often been clouded by a series of myths and misunderstandings. In a speech at the Commonwealth Club on 10 February 2009, Sir Christopher Rose, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, said that the headline ‘"Anti-terror laws used against dog fouling" ... encapsulates in a few words all that is worst in popular journalism. It is inaccurate, emotive and grossly misleading'.