Metropolitan Police Says They're 'Not Prepared' To Reveal How Often They Abuse Anti-Terror Law To Spy On Journalists

from the must-take-a-lot-of-time-to-count-'em-all-up dept

So we recently wrote about how the Metropolitan Police in the UK abused an anti-terror law, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), to dig into a journalist's phone records without any judicial oversight as the police sought to minimize a scandal relating to an incident (Plebgate) involving the police. That led many to wonder just how often the police abuse that law to get records from journalists with no oversight. The answer appears to be "screw you, we're not saying." Or the equivalent of that with a friendly British accent:
Asked how many times they have used Ripa to seize telephone or email records belonging to journalists, Scotland Yard said: “We are not prepared to discuss.”
The line between "not prepared" and "oh fuck, we don't have to reveal that, do we?" appears to be fairly blurry.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Sep 2014 @ 6:51am

    Let loose the hounds...

    Or in this case lawyers, because I don't imagine anything short of a court order will be able to pry that bit of information loose.

    If they aren't willing to answer the question, odds are it's because the number is rather high, or at least significantly higher than they think they could successfully justify before a real court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 5 Sep 2014 @ 7:43am

      Re: Let loose the hounds...

      That. It seems to me that revealing the number would not jeopardize security or ongoing investigations alone. What seems clear from all that is happening in the UK is that the Government is not ready to discuss and apply democracy at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 1:47pm

        Re: Re: Let loose the hounds...

        Due to a small misunderstanding the UK government assumed that democracy was that..just a DEMO....now that we've seen it, it can be safely rolled up and put in the cupboard under the stairs.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MadAsASnake (profile), 5 Sep 2014 @ 7:49am

      Re: Let loose the hounds...

      I think 1 is a number they would have difficulty justifying before a real court

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 1:45pm

      Re: Let loose the hounds...

      Better make sure you're white when you submit that legal case otherwise you might get accidentally shot four times in the head on the London Underground.....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Sep 2014 @ 7:59am

    Because Terrorism.
    It is the key that unlocks all of the behavior that is against the rights people thought that had and should really make them wonder when they slid into a dictatorship that America would be bombing if only they had oil.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 10:03am

      Re: Because Terrorism.

      Ok, Lets turn it around and apply all the hot button excuses for why they have to turn it over. I am convinced the terrorists are holding a gun to their spouses head and forcing them to violate our rights. Is that a lousy excuse? Sure. Is it any worse then their excuse for violating the laws? No it is not!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 2:06pm

        Re: Re: Because Terrorism.

        The UK and US governments are the leading exporters of terrorism in the world. As well as creating false terrorism plots to keep their citizens on edge and distracted from the constant abuses by said governments

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 8:06am

    the UK police are taking leaves out of USA police books! had the USA perhaps been a bit more democratic instead of becoming a 'Police State', maybe allies wouldn't be so keen to imitate, to ignore authority, thinking they are the law and no one can question what they do!
    the world is becoming worse by the day and it's not just because of disgraceful acts performed by terrorists, it's the similarity between what terrorists do and our very own law enforcement services. no democratic, self respecting country should be afraid of what might happen if you're stopped by a police officer. you could end up on a cold slab down the morgue, like so many more seem to these days!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 8:20am

      Re:

      Oh come on, you have nothing to fear, in either the USA or the UK, when stopped by the police if you have done nothing wrong (and have not accidentally transgressed any of the myriad of laws that criminalize perfectly reasonable behaviour, and broken no "secret" laws, and have the right color skin, and the right accent, and dress properly, and are in the right part of town, and have the right connections, and are a member of the social elite - all of which are subject to change without notice)
      How can you possible call this a 'Police State'?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 8:35am

    It is amazing how many criminals want to work in law enforcement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 8:48am

    To protect and serve... our corporate and governmental masters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Joseph Ratliff (profile), 5 Sep 2014 @ 8:55am

    When will they ever learn?

    In this information era, someone WILL find out the answer, and someone will report it to the public that cares to know the answer, period.

    When will these institutions get that? #holdingbreath

    (I know, they won't, probably ever)

    When you do bad stuff, the bad stuff gets discussed in the media. The simple solution?

    Do good/the right stuff.

    (and yes, it is that easy)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Call me Al, 5 Sep 2014 @ 9:00am

      Re: When will they ever learn?

      Yes someone will report it to the public that cares to know. What will happen then? Nothing at all.

      The public that cares to know is a miniscule part of the population. So small as to be easily ignored by the government and political parties in general.

      All they need to do is pay lip services to privacy and then scream "terrorism" or "for the children" and then the majority of the population are satisfied.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 8:59am

    Asked how many times they have used Ripa to seize telephone or email records belonging to journalists, Scotland Yard said: “We are not prepared to discuss.”

    They asked the question wrong , It should have been asked , out of all the journalists , how many haven't you used Ripa seizures of telephone and emails on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 9:01am

    Think of the Children!!!! We have to save them from the mean truth telling journalists. /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 5 Sep 2014 @ 9:33am

    Asked how many times they have used Ripa to seize telephone or email records belonging to journalists, Scotland Yard said: “We are not prepared to discuss.”

    Whoever had the guts to ask that question better have clean phone records.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 5 Sep 2014 @ 9:51am

    It might be an accurate answer

    If they abuse the anti-terror law in this way a lot, they might not know how many times they've done it without doing a formal accounting. If that's the case, they could honestly be unprepared to answer the question.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 10:51am

      Re: It might be an accurate answer

      So in short...

      We have done it so many times we have literally lost count and are not prepared to reveal an answer to that question!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 5 Sep 2014 @ 11:07am

      Re: It might be an accurate answer

      Taking cues from the NSA you mean?

      'While yes we may have scooped up an absolutely insane amount of personal data, it would be a violation of people's privacy if we actually went through and counted how many have had their privacy violated by us!'

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 10:21am

    seems like a similar answer to the one given by the CoLP! the UK is coming up fast! wont be long before it's neck-and-neck with the USA in the 'law enforcement being self-serving ass holes' race!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 12:32pm

    Same shit the US is doing with their NSL letters....feelin' pretty democratic lately, oh wait I mean authoritarian.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2014 @ 2:04pm

    What are they worried for. They get away with openly breaking the law over the biggest things, why would they not be bragging about how they broke the laws in this instance.

    I somehow doubt their internal affairs division is going to sit up and take notice of the departments criminality from this problem.

    Do a crime that would get a regular citizen sent away for life, get a promotion. Beat someone to death, get paid leave while they sort you did nothing wrong. Claim they feared for their lives and that trumps the law they have no clue about and yet they somehow represent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bollocks, 5 Sep 2014 @ 2:33pm

    History

    The UK is and has been for decades the 'Mini me' of the USA

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Argton, 6 Sep 2014 @ 12:58am

    That's fine

    I'm not prepared to pay anymore taxes to fund MY police... that's right you still work for us the people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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