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Electronic Surveillance

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 21 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what legal protections there are for individuals against remote surveillance of their personal computers by third parties. (248637)

Public authority authorisation and use of covert surveillance is strictly controlled by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (‘RIPA’). RIPA limits the purposes for which such surveillance may be used by specific public authorities and sets out the level and procedures for its authorisation. In particular it expressly requires that its authorisation is both necessary and proportionate with regard to human rights. This reflects the obligation on all public authorities to comply with the European Convention under the terms of the Human Rights Act 1998. RIPA also provides a system of independent oversight by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners and a Tribunal for appeal if anyone believes they have been put under unlawful covert surveillance. The contact details are:

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal

PO Box 33220



Telephone: 020 7035 3711

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what rights the police and security services have to conduct remote surveillance of an individual's computer use outside the United Kingdom. (248638)

Public authority conduct, under the covert surveillance provisions of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, includes conduct outside the United Kingdom.