The surveillance targets, who included pigeon feeders and drivers parked in disabled parking bays, were mostly approved by courts under the controversial regulatory investigative powers act (RIPA), which is expected to be boosted by the government’s investigatory powers bill that privacy campaigners are calling the new “snooper’s charter”.

Figures obtained by freedom of information requests made to local authorities across England, Wales and Scotland between April 2012 and January 2015 found that local authorities accrued over 42,000 days on direct and covert surveillance operations authorised by RIPA.

Reported by Channel 4. You can read the full story here. 

I am a journalist and author. I am a staff writer at the UK edition of WIRED magazine and in 2015 my book, Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. I created FOI Directory in 2012.