HC Deb 25 March 1999 vol 328 cc385-6W
Mr. Brady

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many residents of Altrincham and Sale, West have been subject to approved(a) interception of mail and (b) telephone tapping since 1 May 1997. [78524]

Mr. Straw

In accordance with long-established policy and consistently with the statutory provisions of the Interception of Communications Act 1985, it is not the practice of Government to confirm or deny, either that a warrant of interception has been issued, or that interception has taken place in any particular case. This policy, by extension, is applied to revealing figures for specific areas of the country, as this may assist the people who, because they represent a threat to national security or because they are suspected of involvement in very serious crime, are subject to interception measures.

Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to amend the Interception of Communications Act 1985 to make the monitoring of internal telephone calls in the workplace an offence if done without the employee's consent. [78493]

Mr. Straw

During the Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy) Bill debate in this House on 2 September 1998,Official Report, column 749, I announced that I had put in hand a comprehensive review of the interception regime, and that a consultation document on this would be published in due course. The consultation document will address the issue of interception on private telephone networks which was the subject of a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Halford v United Kingdom. Legislation will be introduced at the earliest available opportunity. In the meantime, the Government will shortly issue guidance, explaining to operators of non-public networks, the steps that they should take in order to give effect to the judgment and to ensure, as far as possible, that such a breach does not recur. I shall place a copy of these guidelines in the Library.