What is the law on phone hacking?
Phone hacking is a criminal offence that is punishable by a maximum of two years in prison or a fine, or both.
It is covered by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). RIPA makes it an offence for anyone to intercept telephone calls, with the exception of the police and security services acting with a warrant from the Secretary of State.
RIPA also makes it an offence to gain access to material which is stored on a communication system, such as a voice message, without a search warrant or ‘production order’, both of which require approval from a judge.
How can a solicitor help?
If a person suspects that their phone calls or messages have been intercepted illegally, they are advised to call a specialist civil litigation solicitor. A solicitor will be able to prevent the acquired information from being used, or they can help to minimise the damage. In many cases this will be done by obtaining an injunction from the court.
Phone hacking is not only a criminal offence; it is also a breach of an individual’s right to privacy. A specialist civil litigation solicitor can help a victim of phone hacking sue for breach of privacy in the civil courts, while the Crown Prosecution Service will be responsible for prosecuting the hacker.
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- Last Updated on 10/01/2013