UK lawmakers: Spy law needs stronger scrutiny

AP News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2014 6:04 AM

LONDON (AP) — British lawmakers say police have been misusing surveillance laws to access journalists' communications records.

Parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee says it is unacceptable that police have seized reporters' phone and email data to try to determine sources of leaked information.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz said that using existing legislation "to access telephone records of journalists is wrong" and would deter whistleblowers from speaking to reporters.

The committee said in a report Saturday that a key piece of surveillance legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, was being used in a "secretive and disorganized" way that allowed it to be abused.

The surveillance powers of British police and intelligence agencies have been under scrutiny since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of spies' ability to monitor phone and online communications.