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Facebook, Social Networks and the Need for RIPA Authorisations

September 15, 2015

This is an excellent summary of the connection between the Data Protection Act and RIPA (Regulatory Investigative Powers Act).
Note that I, and many like me believe RIPA should be repealed as a piece of legislation that fundamentally undermines our human rights. However at least there are some positive elements that can be taken out as seen here. A lot is to do with interpretation and emphasis which this article highlights.

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canstockphoto12584745Increasingly local authorities are turning to the online world, especially social media, when conducting investigations. There is some confusion as to whether the viewing of suspects’ Facebook accounts and other social networks requires an authorisation under Part 2 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). In his latest annual report the Chief Surveillance Commissioner states (paragraph 5.42):

“Perhaps more than ever, public authorities now make use of the wide availability of details about individuals, groups or locations that are provided on social networking sites and a myriad of other means of open communication between people using the Internet and their mobile communication devices. I repeat my view that just because this material is out in the open, does not render it fair game. The Surveillance Commissioners have provided guidance that certain activities will require authorisation under RIPA or RIP(S)A and this includes repetitive viewing of what are…

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