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Electronic Surveillance

Volume 463: debated on Monday 23 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what controls exist on the use of equipment outside buildings capable of listening in on conversations inside buildings but which is not covered by the Interception of Communications Act 1985. (151893)

The Interception of Communications Act 1985 was repealed following the full entry into force of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). Part 2 of RIPA provides for the authorisation of covert surveillance, including surveillance carried out in relation to anything taking place in residential premises by means of a surveillance device. Where the device is not present on the premises, directed surveillance may be authorised—unless the device consistently provides information of the same quality and detail as might be expected from a device actually present on the premises, in which case intrusive surveillance should be authorised. Authorisation of both intrusive and directed surveillance is subject to independent oversight by the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners and the Intelligence Services Commissioner.