Written Ministerial Statements
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner
Gordon Brown (Prime Minister; Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, Labour)
In accordance with Section 57 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, I have re-appointed the right hon. Sir Paul Kennedy as Interception of Communications Commissioner from 11 April 2009 to 10 April 2012.
In accordance with Section 59 of the same Act, I have also re-appointed the right hon. Sir Peter Gibson as Intelligence Services Commissioner from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2012.
All well and good, however, neither of these former senior Judges, nor their comrades at the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners (Chief Surveillance Commissioner: Rt.Hon. Sir Christopher Rose), actually provide effective checks and balances against the one sided power of the snooper surveillance nanny police database state which is being inflicted on us.
The failings of their role as RIPA Commissioners are that they are neither empowered, nor do they have the budget, nor, it seems, even the inclination, to properly investigate individual complaints made to them in confidence, and to hold individual securocrats and politicians to account.
They are themselves intensely secretive, refusing to be made subjects of the Freedom of Information Act, in spite of their public offices fulfilling exactly the criteria for inclusion in the list of Public Bodies under Section 4 of that Act.
Their heavily censored and deliberately delayed Annual Reports, which only audit a fraction of the paperwork, do not provide a proper check or obstacle to the formulation of new repressive Government policies, neither the blatant ones, nor the ones which are side effects of "good intentions" nor of the politicians' fascination with technological magic fixes, so that they can be Seen To Be Doing Something for media spin ad propaganda purposes.
It even takes some searching to find any contact details for these RIPA Commissioners - see our UK Commissioners page.
When the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) is reformed, the role of these Commissioners must also be totally revamped, and they should be given real powers, including criminal sanctions, to protect the public from the excesses of politicians and bureaucrats.