Who’s watching the watchers?

“Is it normal in peacetime that the Army would access this information in this way?”

asked Pat Rabbitte after it was revealed that the army had used the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act to access the personal telephone records of Irish citizens last year.

He further queried:

“Am I the only one who thinks it odd that according to the Data Protection Commissioner, the gardaí made over 10,000 requests in 2006, the equivalent of almost 30 requests daily to access records.”

Oddest of all, however, is that the High Court judge designated to have oversight of the legislation and to report to the Taoiseach, says the documents he has inspected related to those located in the premises of the Army. No report about Garda requests for access has been laid before the Oireachtas, as is apparently required.

Summary:

Tens of thousands of requests for access to personal telephone records on Irish citizens are made by the police and army.

The legislative requirement that a report on such activities be laid before the Oireachtas was not complied with in respect to the Garda requests. It is not known whether the High Court judge designated to oversee the legislation has the power or the will to question such an omission.

When the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, the man ultimately responsible for the civil rights of Irish citizens was asked if he was happy that proper procedures were in place, he said he could not answer because he did not have the facts.

Previous post on this matter here

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