James Slack and Matthew Hickley
UK Daily Mail 
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Ministers were attacked by their own surveillance watchdog last night for wanting to make it easier for public bodies to spy on the public.
Sir Christopher Rose, Chief Surveillance Commissioner, also revealed Government organisations were using tracking devices and private investigators to snoop on residents.
And he warned that councils are still using covert tactics to check on suspected minor offenders, despite being banned by law from doing so.
Sir Christopher revealed the extent of the use by police and other public bodies of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) in his annual report.
In the past year, councils and government workers such as benefits officials were given 9,894 approvals to carry out direct surveillance on the public, up from 9,535 a year earlier.