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Communications data requests by UK authorities increase 15% in 2012

Data requests from UK authorities have increased in 2012 with more than 570,000 demands, compared to around 490000 requests they made in 2011, according to a report from Interception of Communications Commissioner Office.

The total number of lawful intercept warrants issued in 2012 was 3372, a 16% increase when compared to the warrants in 2011.

Interception of Communications Commissioner Paul Kennedy said interception and communications data remain powerful techniques in the investigation of many kinds of crime and threats to national security.

"Many of the largest drug-trafficking, excise evasion, people-trafficking, counter-terrorism and wider national security, and serious crime investigative successes of the recent past have in some way involved the use of interception and/or communications data," Kennedy said.

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Kennedy noted that 55 errors or breaches were reported to his office by public authorities in 2012, which represents a 30% increase on the 42 errors reported in 2011.

It was found that 979 communications data errors were reported last year of which about 80% of the errors were attributable to public authorities and 20% to communication service provider (CSPs).

The report revealed that 160 local authorities across the UK made 2,605 requests in 2012.

Kennedy noted that the increase in the number of requests was unsurprising considering the fact that the UK hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 and that communications data supported a number of operations undertaken to ensure the Games were safe.

"It is evident that public authorities are making good use of communications data as a powerful investigative tool, primarily to prevent and detect crime," Kennedy said.
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CBR Staff Writer

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