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York council denies "snooping" on employees
CLAIMS that City of York Council employs private sector investigators to carry out surveillance on its staff and residents have been strongly denied.
The council said the claims by civil liberties and privacy campaigners Big Brother Watch (BBW) were not true and were the result of a misunderstanding about the response the authority made to a freedom of information request last November.
BBW claimed some 14 bodies, including 10 councils, may have commissioned potentially illegal surveillance, and said York was one of four councils which used private investigators to monitor their own staff.
The council said that like every other council, there were very rare occasions when the thorough investigation of fraud and other matters necessitated the use of surveillance. But approval for this was given, at director level only, when it was demonstrated that an investigation could not be concluded without it and where all the provisions of the RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers) Act were met.