Spies R Us

What happens when we build an infrastructure of local armies and security technology to watch and monitor our cities, neighborhoods and infrastructure?

To give us an answer, there’s a head start in Britain where tens of thousands of cameras are installed as well as greater numbers of communication taps.

After several years installing a surveillance society, here’s the first reports of what we can expect too:

Surveillance powers designed to track terrorists are being deployed by councils to crack down on littering, dog fouling and planning law breaches, a survey reveals.

Its findings expose the vast scale of Big Brother spying by town halls and brought urgent demands for “root and branch” reforms to curb the fast-growing snooping culture.

Some councils have used the sweeping powers granted by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) more than 100 times in the last year to follow and watch residents or monitor their calls – often while dealing with the most minor of suspected offences.

… hundreds of local authorities and other agencies, permit checking private phone or internet records, secretly recording meetings inside suspects’ homes and recruiting “spies” to watch their neighbours.

Officials in Derby, Bolton, Gateshead and Hartlepool admitted using covert spying techniques to deal with dog fouling, while Bolton spied on suspected litter louts.

Wyre council in Lancashire confirmed it was using plain clothes investigators posing as dog walkers – and equipped with hidden cameras to gather evidence – to watch genuine dog walkers in parks.

And officials in Kensington and Chelsea said they had used Ripa powers to spy on a resident suspected of misusing a disabled parking badge.

Conwy council in Wales said it spied on an employee who was working while off sick, while Liverpool officials investigated a false claim for damages against the council.