The Home Office has published a consultation paper on the review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). The Home Office proposes to issue consolidating orders listing all the public authorities able to grant authorisations under RIPA as well as to amend the existing Codes of Practice on Covert Surveillance and Property Interference and on Covert Human Intelligence Sources. Included within the proposed changes are an extension of the Office of Fair Trading's powers to allow it to use RIPA powers to obtain communications data, where it considers this is in the interests of the economic well-being of the UK. The deadline for responding to the consultation is 10 July.
The Home Office has decided to launch this review because of public concerns about a lack of consistency in the application of the standards used in deciding whether to authorise RIPA techniques, as well as about local authorities' alleged use of these techniques for trivial purposes. The review also takes into account the House of Lords ruling in March in Re McE (Appellant) (Northern Ireland)  UKHL 15 in which the majority held that the RIPA covert surveillance provisions extend to the type of consultations usually protected by legal professional privilege, including meetings between lawyers and their clients.