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Interception of Communications Act 1985

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Citation Edit

Interception of Communications Act 1985 (IOCA) (U.K.) (1985 c. 56).

Overview Edit

The Act placed interception of communications sent by post or by means of a public telecommunication system on a statutory basis for the first time. The main features of IOCA are:

(a) The Act created an offence of unlawful interception of communications by post or by means of a public telecommunication system.
(b) It established a framework controlling issue, renewal, modification and cancellation of warrants authorising interception of communications sent by post or by means of a public telecommunication system.
(c) It enshrined in law the principle that warrants may only be issued by the Secretary of State, and specified the purposes for which warrants may be issued as:
(i) in the interests of national security;
(ii) for the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime; or
(iii) for the purpose of safeguarding the economic well-being of the United Kingdom.
(d) It placed strict safeguards on the extent to which intercepted material may be disclosed, copied and retained, requiring arrangements to be made to ensure that each of these is kept to a minimum.
(e) The Act established an independent oversight regime in the form of the Interception Commissioner, whose job is to keep under review the way in which the power to issue warrants is exercised and the operation of the safeguards described above.
(f) It set up a Tribunal to investigate complaints where the complainant believes that their communications have been intercepted in breach of the Act.

This Act was repealed by schedule 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Source Edit

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