This is awesome. 77 councils said they are using automatic street surveillance, a power granted under an anti-terror law, to spy on people suspected of putting their trashcan on the street on the wrong day.
The Mail requested information from all of the 474 councils in England. Of the 151 which replied, some 77 - more than half - said they had used the legislation in the last three years for suspected ‘domestic waste, littering or fly-tipping offences’.
Although it is ostensibly an anti-terror law, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, or RIPA, is worded so loosely that it can be used to justify surveillance operations for a variety of reasons. These include spying to ‘protect public health’ or the ‘economic well-being of the UK’.
This means that councils can use the powers granted by the Act to monitor families’ treatment of household waste.
In Lincolnshire, West Lindsey District Council uses the new powers to place motion-activated cameras on lamp posts to catch homeowners putting their bins out at the wrong time.
One officer told an undercover reporter: 'In some areas, particularly where there is terraced housing, we have a problem with people putting their black rubbish bags out three or four days early.
'When they have been left in alleyways or at the rear of terraced properties, it is difficult to identify exactly who has placed them there.
‘The cameras are hidden in tin cans or put on lamp posts and allow us to monitor who is coming out of which property and leaving their rubbish. Sometimes we are able to put these cameras inside peoples’ homes that overlook the alleyways.
‘These are usually residents who have complained to us about rubbish being dumped outside their house on the wrong day.’
Via Bruce Schneier where comments confirmed that this article is correct (even though it’s from the Daily Mail).