UK POLICE HAVE RIGHT TO INTERCEPT E-MAIL
Rohit Khare (email@example.com)
Wed, 11 Jun 1997 12:09:16 -0400
>+ UK POLICE HAVE RIGHT TO INTERCEPT E-MAIL
>Police in the UK have the right to intercept and read private e-mail
>messages, according to the conclusions of a study conducted by a unit
>of the UK's Home Office.
>The National Criminal Intelligence Unit
>conducted a 10-month study that concluded that a special unit to deal
>with crime on the internet is needed. The study, entitled Project
>Trawler, also found that the criminal community was increasingly
>turning to the internet as a means of communication, hoping to bypass
>the attentions of the police. So, the police tried to get internet
>service providers to give them access to e-mail, as telephone
>companies do already. But the police found the law prevented them
>getting anything other than names and addresses, rather than the
>messages themselves. Or so they thought.
>According to a report in the
>Daily Telegraph, this week the Home Office revealed a loophole in the
>UK law, whereby police can simply ask for a printout of e-mails from
>the ISPs, which they are permitted to hand over. If e-mails were to
>intercepted by tapping phones, the police would require a warrant. If
>ISPs refuse to hand over a printout, the police can get a court order
>under the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act.
>The loophole arises because the data protection and phone tapping
>were formed before the internet explosion. Groups campaigning for
>freedom of information in the UK where there is no equivalent of
>Freedom of Information Act are calling for the sane laws that
>restrict phone tapping to be applied to e-mail as well.