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Telephone Tapping

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 19 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if British Telecom is required to be shown a valid warrant by MI5 before a telephone tap is introduced at their request. [15719]

[holding answer 17 November 1997]: Warrants are delivered directly to Public Telecommunications Operators by the Home Office, following signature by the Secretary of State. No interception may be commenced until the warrant has been signed.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ensure information gained by means of telephone tapping which is not connected with the specific matter under investigation is immediately destroyed. [15712]

[holding answer 17 November 1997]: Section 6(3) of the Interception of Communications Act 1985 requires that each copy made of intercepted material obtained under a warrant for one of the reasons set out under section 2(2) of the Act should be destroyed as soon as its retention is no longer necessary for the purpose for which the warrant was issued. One of the tasks of the Interception Commissioner, currently Lord Nolan, is to review the adequacy of arrangements made to give effect to the obligations imposed by section 6.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many positively vetted telephone engineers are currently in the employ of British Telecom; and how many of these are under the direction of the Government and paid for by British Telecom. [15725]

[holding answer 17 November 1997]: The vetting of British Telecom staff is a matter for British Telecom. All British Telecom engineers work under the direction of British Telecom.