In the UK the Home Office is planning to regulate investigators through the Security Industry Authority as explained in more detail on their website. If you are based overseas don’t assume this won’t affect you if you are either one of our clients or associates.
We have consulted with our clients as well as our associates involved in intelligence and investigatory work not just in the UK but also in countries where private investigators and other investigators are already subject to similar regulations as those proposed in the UK.
Over 75% of those clients and associates in the UK that Faire Sans Dire contacted considered the proposals to be pointless for one or more of those reasons set out below.
In the light of the “Snowden saga” they thought that as a matter of priority it was the UK Government that needed to first introduce legislation to control its own abuses in terms of accessing and harvesting personal data. In addition, most also considered that (given time) such legislation could be applied to all bodies: ie not only governmental but also commercial organisations including for the avoidance of doubt the likes of the intelligence services, ISPs, telephone service providers and all those involved in investigatory work. The reasons given may be summarised thus:
1. There already exist adequate laws to deal with abuses by private eyes and other investigators and the creation of yet another regulatory quango would be a waste of money.
2. The headline making crimes that brought about the politicised call for the regulation of investigators have been commissioned and paid for by the media and law firms which would be exempt from the proposed out-of-date legislation anyway (cf The Private Security Industry Act 2001).
3. Since June 2013 the media (cf USA NSA revelations) have revealed the government is involved in the illegal and/or questionable access of UK citizens’ personal data; rather than regulate private eyes it should legislate that any data relating to UK citizens no matter how obtained (including by governmental organisations such as GCHQ) be only obtained and accessed lawfully.
About 80% of those we consulted in the investigatory industry based outside the UK where similar regulations to those proposed in the UK already exist thought that the regulations imposed on them were a bureaucratic waste of everyone’s time and money apart from those who profited from “the systems” by providing superfluous training courses or handling work outsourced by the regulatory bodies concerned.
If you are a British citizen or UK resident and agree with one or more of the three points made above please help try and stop the planned regulation of investigatory organisations by backing Bill Fairclough’s e-petition to the UK Government and getting others to do so or by writing to the Home Office.
The proposals purportedly exclude the media, accountants and lawyers but how long that will last is anyone’s guess as the regulations are implemented and “legislative creep” sets in. The petition is at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/53941.It can be completed by email by British citizens and UK residents. We will see if we can promote it over the course of the ensuing year albeit such petitions on non-emotive topics such as this rarely attract more than a handful of votes. The petition expires a year from the date of the publication of this article.
This article was first published on 19th August 2013.