UK local governments use anti-terror spying powers to catch litterbugs and people who put out trash early

Half of the local councils in Britain are using anti-terror laws to plant secret cameras and enlist snitches in order to catch people who put out their trash-cans too early.
Back when Britain was ushering in its dramatic new Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, those of us who questioned whether it was a good idea to take all reins off the power to spy on people was a good idea were called paranoid kooks. Now we come to find that RIPA is the first tool that local governments turn to when they need to catch someone whose dog has crapped on the pavement, or to catch paperboys who dump their advertising circulars rather than deliver them, or to catch litterers. These are the grave crimes that justify warrantless spying and turning neighbour against neighbour.

Mark Wallace, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'It is crazy that so many councils are using anti-terror legislation to spy on their residents. It must cost a huge amount for all these concealed cameras, just to give a few people relatively low-level fines.'

Other local authorities which gave details of how they used RIPA included Lewes District Council in East Sussex.

It admitted that the Act was used to gain evidence on residents who persistently left rubbish out at the wrong time.

South Bedfordshire council also admitted going through phone bills inside rubbish bags to identify who had left them outside.

Officers also electronically tagged certain types of rubbish to find out if they had been dumped illegally.

Wycombe District council in Buckinghamshire put an electronic tag on rubbish left outside a shop to see if it was taken.

March of the dustbin Stasi: Half of councils use anti-terror laws to watch people putting rubbish out on the wrong day
(via Schneier