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The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is RIPA?

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 governs the interception (monitoring or recording) of transmissions on telecommunications networks. Although the Act in large part is concerned with the circumstances in which the government can ‘tap’ communications on the phone or internet, it also regulates how organisations can monitor communications on their own communication systems.

When can a business intercept communications on their systems?

Under the associated Telecommunications (Lawful Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000, organisations can intercept communications: to establish the existence of facts; to ascertain compliance with standards or regulations; in the interests of national security; for the purpose of detecting crime; or to investigate or detect unauthorised use of the system. The interception must be solely for the purpose of the organisation’s business on a communication system provided for use in connection with that business, where the organisation has made reasonable effort to inform users that their communication may be intercepted.

Do respondents have to be told that a telephone interview is being monitored for quality control purposes?

This issue was raised in the consultation conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry prior to the coming into force of the Regulations. The Government came to the conclusion that it would not be in the interests of businesses or consumers to require consent before monitoring for quality control. They expanded the scope of the Regulations to allow businesses to intercept without consent in order to ascertain or demonstrate the standards which ought to be achieved by persons using their systems. This allows businesses to continue monitoring as before for purposes such as staff training which are of benefit for consumers.