judgecorp writes "The BBC and other UK public bodies have been criticized for excessive and secretive use of snooping powers granted under RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act). The act allows the BBC and other to request information on suspected criminals, but it has been over-used, and used covertly according to critics. From the article: 'The BBC said it had not been secretive about how it was using RIPA powers. “The BBC uses Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act for the detection of television licence evasion alone,” a spokesperson said. “It is only used as a last resort once other enforcement methods have been exhausted.The reason we do not release more details on how and when it is used is to ensure people without a valid TV licence don’t use this information to their advantage when attempting to avoid detection.”'"