Richard Ford
Times Online
July 23, 2008

Official ‘surveillance’ requests for details of telephone and internet records have surged to 1,400 a day, according to figures published yesterday.

The annual number of ‘spying’ requests for private communications data jumped to almost 520,000 last year, compared with an average of less than 350,000 in the two previous years.

Local councils have been criticised for seeking the information to tackle under age drinking, dog fouling, littering and even to find out whether a family lived in a school catchment area.

Although local authorities made up only a small proportion of the overall number of requests in 2007, they were criticised for misunderstanding the concept of proportionality in when ‘spying’ is justified to tackle a problem.

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