HMRC gets bugging powers

He already has the power to arrest, and as of today, the British taxman will also be able to intercept phone calls, emails and letters, as well as bug residential premises and private vehicles.

The powers were granted to HMRC in the Serious Crime Act, which gained Royal Assent in October, but did not come into force until the relevant statutory instrument is issued today.

“Customs officers have always had these powers because of their criminal investigations into drugs and guns,” said an HMRC spokesman. “Now they will be granted across the board.

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Comments
mfbrown185's picture

Surprised?

mfbrown185 | | Permalink

Of course many of us suspected and even predicted this move.

Many of us did not believe assurances given that transfers of such powers were not necessary.

And................ as usual we will do nothing about this abuse!

I am sure that we have all had the occasional telephone conversation with clients that leaves us feeling uneasy. I have always seen these conversations as an opportunity to bring the client back in to line, explain the risks associated with his "misunderstanding", and, to try to correct the damage. Are we to assume that our roles in this should now be to blow the whistle to the regulatory authorities before they can launch their "Bond" like intelligence gathering operatives on us?

Also, I wouldn't take too much comfort from the "Serious Fraud" description attached to this piece of hoodwinking.

Calm Down

Anonymous | | Permalink

To quote:

"The powers were granted to HMRC in the Serious Crime Act"

If you have a substantial number of clients likely to be affected by this then you should certainly worry - about the sort of people you are attracting.

No surprise!

Anonymous | | Permalink

Well , we all knew that there were a lot of buggers in the government and HMRC!

more bugs in the system

The Black Knight | | Permalink

We should be informing our clients of this, so that they can make an informed decision when they vote! If we do still live in a democracy ?
The government seem to have their fair share of crooks in their ranks, can anyone name an MP not suspected of a reportable money laundering offence? Do they not read their own rules? In the meantime crime is a growing part of the ecomomy and perhaps without drugs, prostitution, gun sales, and vat fraud we would not have an economy.

Conflict of laws?

Mark Hemmings | | Permalink

"He already has the power to arrest, and as of today, the British taxman will also be able to intercept phone calls, emails and letters, as well as bug residential premises and private vehicles. "

What will the European court of human rights make of this? Free country, free speech, not anymore. Big brother is watching you, without your consent.

John Stokdyk's picture

... and gets £60 million secure radio system from Airwave

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

...More evidence came through this week of HMRC's move to more police-like procedures in its fight against fraud, with the announcement that it had takeen out a 15-year, £60m contract with Airwave to provide a secure digital radio & data network for HMRC's Criminal Investigation and Detection teams.

According to Kablenet, the service will include a central control room and 4,000 connections over which staff will be able to communicate securely with each other and public services such as the police and port authorities.

With the sensitive information it handles and its responsibilities for frontier control and criminal investigation into fraud, drug smuggling and organised crime, HMRC needed an encrypted service, the department told Computer Weekly.

John Stokdyk
Technology editor
AccountingWEB.co.uk