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Monday, 1st June 2015

UK: Police Access to Communications Data

Source: Big Brother Watch (UK)

From Executive Summary:

Communications Data details the who, where and when of any text, email, phone call or web search. Law enforcement regularly state that Communications Data have become an essential tool in criminal investigations. The intrusive nature of Communications Data however has ensured that it is now a highly contentious political, legal and policing issue in the UK and around the world.

... Focusing on the use of Communications Data by police forces, this report shows that between 2012 and 2014, 733,237 requests for Communications Data were made. The equivalent of 670 requests a day or 28 requests every hour.

Despite persistent claims that the police’s access to Communications Data is diminishing, this report shows that the police are continuing to access vast amounts of data on citizens. Indeed, this report shows that on average 96% of all requests are internally approved with an average of only 4% being refused. Claims of a 25% capability gap - the gap between the amount of Communications Data created and the ability for the police to access it - are therefore clearly overstated.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 783 KB)



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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