HC Deb 29 October 1947 vol 443 c840
1. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Postmaster-General to what extent Monitoring or tapping telephone conversations is in practice.

The Postmaster-General (Mr. Wilfred Paling)

Officers of the Post Office are strictly forbidden to listen in to telephone conversations except in so far as may be necessary for the efficient performance of their duty. Long-distance telephone calls are monitored to ensure that the subscriber is obtaining reasonable quality of speech and that the trunk circuit can immediately be released when he has finished. In addition, a very small percentage of calls, selected at random, is observed to provide a measure of the quality of service but in most cases these calls are only observed to the stage at which effective conversation begins.

Sir W. Smithers

Would the right hon. Gentleman guarantee that the conditions which he has mentioned are strictly applied? Is he aware that there is widespread feeling that tapping and Monitoring goes on, which results in many visits by enforcement officers? Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that there is no tapping of calls on a political basis, and will he give strict instructions that there must not be any in the future?

Mr. Paling

That assurance is contained in my answer.

Forward to