back to article Phone hacking probe cops 'got law wrong' - were too lenient

The claim by London's Metropolitan Police that the interception of messages is only illegal when the message has not been listened to, read or collected by the recipient has been challenged by a privacy law expert. The Met's Assistant Commissioner John Yates told MPs that the police force's legal advice was that it was not …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Ah, the genius of Google Adverts

    You have to laugh when the fourth advert shown by Google Ads next to this story is for a website offering software that lets you access SMS and voicemail messages from any mobile number.

    As for the article itself, once again UK.Plod demonstrate either a failure to understand the law as it should be applied or an inability to care if they're getting it right. Boy oh boy I feel reassured by those in charge of the lads and lasses in blue :| ...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    we'll have a "bonfire of data protection laws" to match the health and safety law bonfire that the ConDem government are heading towards.

    Ohh, sorry. I forgot that they cannot unilaterally alter or remove eu legislation....bitch.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Lawyers' opinions are just that...

    Section 2(7) covers situations of store and forward, like e-mail, rather than real-time communications, like telephone calls. A message is still considered in transit even when stored on an e-mail server, where the intended recipient hasn't yet collected it (think POP3) - and therefore covered by RIPA. Once it has been delivered/read RIPA goes away, but the data is still protected by other laws, such as DPA and CMA - e.g. if police wanted to get access to it now they'd probably be required to get a PACE Court Order (post delivery), rather than a RIPA Warrant (in transit).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lawyers' opinions are just that...

      Here's what section 2 subsection (7) says:-

      "For the purposes of this section the times while a communication is being transmitted by means of a telecommunication system shall be taken to include any time when the system by means of which the communication is being, or has been, transmitted is used for storing it in a manner that enables the intended recipient to collect it or otherwise to have access to it."


      Note in particular the words, "is being, or has been, transmitted", and, "to collect it or otherwise to have access to it."

      "or has been" is explicit, and clearly distinct to "is being". "or otherwise to have access to it" is explicit, and clearly distinct to "to collect it".

      If 2(7) only meant that "A message is still considered in transit even when stored on an e-mail server, where the intended recipient hasn't yet collected it", but didn't include times after which the message has been collected, it wouldn't say, "to collect it or otherwise to have access to it." It would simply say, "to collect it". "or otherwise to have access to it" clearly means storage other than while awaiting collection. "or has been" explicitly includes those times after which the message has reached its final destination within the "telecommunication system", and therefore includes those times after which the message has been collected but is still being stored within the system.


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Voice messages are store/forward like email. Real time is pure real time where there is a conversation going on.

  4. Dazed and Confused

    Makes you wonder

    Just why NuLab didn't want this pursued at the time but why suddenly they do when they are no long in power.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Bigger picture - the Met is corrupt, and wants disbanding

    [submitted 17:57 Mon]

    As others have already pointed out in comments on other articles here, there is a bigger picture.

    The officer investigating these accusations against the Murdoch group no longer works for the Met. He is now a writer. At the Murdoch group.

    Many commercial organisations have policies that say "thou shalt not enter into deals which may even appear to have the potential of a conflict of interest.". Maybe the Met do too.

    Clearly, on this and other matters (Tomlinson, Menezes, etc) the officers of the Met and their mates down the lodge see themselves as above the law and indeed with no need for morals. It would be nice if it changed.

    1. TimNevins
      Thumb Down


      The law that forced judges,police and politicians to disclose whether they were Freemasons was recently dismantled.

      Since you can no longer determine who belongs then collusion is now far more probable.

  6. 32holes

    what a waste of space

    Utter friggen idiots they are. They did not learn one single thing from the Phorm fiasco.

    Why are we paying for these idiots?

  7. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Why ...

    ... were (are) the Met and the last government so desperate to brush this under the carpet? Orders from Mr Murdoch, or worried that some other illegal tapping/hacking might be turned up. With each day this smells fishier.

  8. dervheid

    Since when did PLOD...

    decide on what was illegal or not?

    Am I the only one who thinks that their job is to investigate alleged crimes, present said evidence to DPP/Procurator Fiscal, who then decide if there's enough evidence to warrant proceeding to court, where either a magistrate/sheriff or Jury (under the direction of a learned judge) decide if the law has been broken.

    Or is that not the way the system works?

  9. Andre 4


    ....this sounds so.... American!

  10. Puck

    I'm sorry, Yates

    This impression of a 90 IQ traffic officer won't work. You're aware of the ECHR and HRA and their provisions. You're also responsible for their enforcement. I don't accept that you as a top ranking police officer, can make a dodgy barrister responsible.

    Of course, because this is a Conservative government, run by fucking perverts (I grew up in the 90s, I know what I'm talking about...) you will keep your job.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's because...

    If they can assert that it is legal for others to go listening to voicemails, then they can do it themselves with deliberatly self-blinkered impunity.

    Of course I could just be a cynic, but prior experience tells me otherwise....

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