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October 2005 - Publication Abandoned
Covert policing allows law enforcement agencies to obtain evidence and information without the cooperation of the suspect. The practice has burgeoned in recent years, driven by the development of information technologies, new trends in policing styles, the ability to obtain high quality evidence and a desire for rapid results.
The technique us principally regulated by the 2000 Act that was passed following several high profile cases against the UK in the European Court of Human Rights. Consideration must be given not only to the human rights of those under surveillance but also people whose privacy may be affected collaterally.
The 2000 Act provides for and about the interception of communications, the acquisition and disclosure of communications data, the carrying out of surveillance, the use of covert human intelligence sources (informants and undercover officers) and the acquisition of the means by which electronic data protected by encryption or passwords may be decrypted or accessed. It also provides an accountability framework with limited access to the courts. Local and central government agencies, the police, customs and excise and secret service branches all have powers that allow them to engage in covert policing.
In a world in which police powers and actions are increasingly intrusive in the interests of public protection and safety, this text provides a guide to the use of surveillance both human and technical, the interception of telephone and internet communications and the monitoring of financial and computerised transactions as well as controversial data protection and exchange provisions and genetic monitoring.