Tom Whitehead reports in the Daily Telegraph that an Interception of Communications Commissioner report has highlighted that five people have had their homes searched and computers seized after they were wrongly identified as paedophiles, with one person being arrested. Additionally, information on dozens of other innocent people was wrongfully disclosed to the officers investigating child sex abuse or pornography due to errors with the requests.
Commenting on the errors Joanna Cavan, the head of commissioner’s office, said:
“Although the numbers are small, the consequences are significant and they can be devastating.”
The failures did not only mean that innocent people were investigated but that some genuine suspects escaped investigation because by the time it was realised that the wrong people were being investigated, the records of the suspects had been deleted by their internet service providers.
The report also reveals that 998 errors were made in communications data requests in 2014 and that the Police and public bodies made 517,208 applications to monitor e-mails, internet and phones records which is the equivalent of one request every minute.