The British government says local authorities must stop using powers to spy on people for trivial matters.
Under the current law councils can use CCTV footage as well as intercept phone and e-mail data on suspected criminals. But the government has ordered a review after the law was used to track people for minor offences such as dog fouling, littering or checking parents have been sending their children to the correct schools. Despite fears councils are prying into the private lives of law-abiding people, the government has defended the use of powers to deal with serious crime. Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said: ‘‘It was only through the use of these powers that these people were brought to justice. So it’s a balance between the concerns that people have about the use of the powers but also the fact that they can be used, if they’re used properly, to bring people to justice who wouldn’t otherwise be brought to justice.’‘ But civil liberty groups argue Britain has more surveillance cameras than any other country in the world and claims councils are being allowed to abuse the law.