What is a "communication" (was Re: sorry, but ...

Peter Fairbrother zenadsl6186 at zen.co.uk
Wed Aug 8 19:29:32 BST 2012

On 08/08/12 10:27, Peter Sommer wrote:
>   Contributors to this thread might like to take a careful look at RIPA
> s 2(1) which provides some definitions and addresses the issue of


> (4) For the purposes of this Act the interception of a communication
> takes place in the United Kingdom if, and only if, the modification,
> interference or monitoring or, in the case of a postal item, the
> interception
> is effected by conduct within the United Kingdom

I often wonder what that means. Suppose I order an interception done 
while I'm in the UK, but all the other actions take place abroad - does 
that mean I have "effected the interception" by conduct within the UK?

In US corporate-speak I have, but maybe not in UK law-speak.

> and the communication is either—
> (a) intercepted in the course of its transmission by means of a public
> postal service or public telecommunication system; or
> (b) intercepted in the course of its transmission by means of a private
> telecommunication system in a case in which the sender or
> intended recipient of the communication is in the United
> Kingdom.

> (5) References in this Act to the interception of a communication in the
> course of its transmission by means of a postal service or
> telecommunication system do not include references to—
> (a) any conduct that takes place in relation only to so much of the
> communication as consists in any traffic data comprised in or
> attached to a communication (whether by the sender or
> otherwise) for the purposes of any postal service or
> telecommunication system by means of which it is being or may
> be transmitted; or
> (b) any such conduct, in connection with conduct falling within
> paragraph (a), as gives a person who is neither the sender nor
> the intended recipient only so much access to a communication
> as is necessary for the purpose

And here is another can of worms.

In general it is a principle of UK law that evidence once obtained can 
be presented, whether the obtaining was lawful or not.

I think that also applies to this situation where once the communication 
has been intercepted (except it isn't intercepted, because s.2(5) says 
it isn't - let's just say that they have seen the content) then they can 
use the content for lawful purposes like preventing or detecting crime.

I might be wrong, and a Judge might say that that secondary use of the 
content gave someone further access to the content, and it was thus not 
covered by 2(5). But it is not clear.

> The issue is where the interception or monitoring takes place

The "effecting" of the interception, no?

-- Peter Fairbrother

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