MrSteveSD writes "The Daily Mail is reporting that local councils have been using the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to spy on people's phone and email records. Reasons given for the surveillance include checking for evidence of people storing petrol without permission and investigating unburied animal carcasses. The surveillance was uncovered using Freedom of Information laws. The scope of the RIPA act is staggering. It would be simpler to list who isn't allowed to access your phone and email records. Aside from political action, what can be done technologically to combat this threat? Use Skype rather than the normal telephone?"