HC Deb 11 February 1997 vol 290 c102W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Prime Minister what role the Interception of Communications Tribunal and the commissioner have in the handling of(a) complaints of interceptions not authorised by warrant and (b) surreptitious surveillance of telephone calls by methods not prohibited by the definition of interception of the Court of Appeal in R v. Ahmed (1984); and what changes there have been to their role, with special reference to the area of unauthorised interception, since the statement by the Home Secretary on 7 February 1985, Official Report, column 1121. [15441]

The Prime Minister

The tribunal and commissioner have no statutory power to investigate allegations that interception has taken place without a warrant issued under the Interception of Communications Act 1985. That would fall to be investigated by the police. The Act, which defines the roles of the tribunal and commissioner, is concerned only with the interception of communications in the course of their transmission by post or by means of a public telecommunications system. It does not apply to private telecommunications systems. There has been no change to the roles of the tribunal and commissioner since the introduction of the Act.