November 26, 2010 | Jim Killock

Home Office: citizens not directly concerned by interception law

ORG received a response to our complaint about the truncated, unpublicized RIPA consultation today, the day after we sent a joint civil society letter to Pauline Neville Jones.

The consultation will create new powers to fine organisations who engage in illegal interception, and decide who will investigate. Currently, this may not include the police, and the fines may be laughably small - perhaps only £10,000.

The Home Office have now published the consultation, and extended the deadline slightly, to 17 December. They continue to refuse to meet civil society groups however, saying:

We are focusing on those parties directly affected by the changes to the extent that those parties would be subject to the civil sanction or directly concerned with it, or are directly responsible, where lawful interception is taking place, for ensuring that consent has been obtained to the interception. (Full text)

On other words, the many thousands of people who have been adversely affected by illegal interception, and those who seek to stand up for their rights, are not “directly concerned” according to the Home Office.

This is an outrageous position to take. Industry will never be prime the victim of interception: citizens stand to lose hugely from weak or inadequate protection.

Please take the time to respond to the consultation.