Councils across the UK have abused a law to carry out an extensive spying program on unsuspecting citizens a period of five years, a new report shows.
According to a mass freedom of information request by the Liberal Democrats party, at least 186 local authorities have used secret listening devices, cameras and private detectives to spy on Britons under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), The Guardian reported on Sunday.
The freedom of information request was sent to 283 local authorities but nearly 100 of them decided not to reply.
The paper said it was in possession of evidence that showed local authorities were given permission to conduct 55,000 days of covert surveillance.
The report noted that the councils had launched 2,800 separate surveillance operations, some of them stretching over 90 days each.
Midlothian council, for example, used the law to monitor dog barking and Allerdale borough council tried to find out who was feeding…