Gardai examine hundreds of phone records

Interesting to see how ‘official’ phone bugging is going..

Hundreds of private telephone records are being examined by the Garda Síochána every month, the Data Protection Commissioner said

Gardai currently are entitled to get access to the records during inquiries about any crime, regardless of its seriousness, said the commissioner, Billy Hawkes, who published his annual report yesterday.

An initial request for the records of one individual suspected of criminality can frequently provoke requests for the records of every individual listed on the suspect’s file, he added.

“Just make sure that you don’t ring the number of a major criminal by mistake, or you could find that your records are listed,” he told journalists yesterday, though he emphasised that there is no evidence that the gardaí were improperly using their powers.

The inspection of a citizen’s telephone records should not be the “first option, or a routine option” for the Garda.

Under proposed EU legislation, which is being opposed by Minister for Justice Michael McDowell, telephone records would have to be stored for between six months and two years in all EU member states, but they would be made available to police only during serious crime investigations.