Councils, police and the intelligence services made more than 1,500 requests to snoop on the public every day last year, including phone, email and text messages, it has been revealed.
The figures were published in the annual report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner, Sir Paul Kennedy. It showed 504,073 requests for communication data were made (and approved) last year, or nearly 10,000 every week. The statistics constitute a 44 per cent rise in requests over the past two years.
The vast majority were by the police and security services but local councils made more than 1,500 requests for communications data, including lists of telephone numbers dialled by suspects. Each approved requested gave public authorities access to communications data via phone, email and text. However, they could not view the content of the messages sent. Powers to ask for the private data were handed to town halls and other government agencies under the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.