British Anti-Terrorism Law Used to Spy on Minors' Smoking, Drinking

A British county has been using an anti-terrorism law enacted in 2000 to spy on minors for petty crimes like using cigarettes and alcohol. The Staffordshire County Council in Britain's Midlands region has been using Britain's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) for a host of non-terrorism-related applications, like monitoring underage liquor and tobacco sales, recording the movements of farm animals and tracking counterfeit DVD sales. Brandon Cooke, Staffordshire County Council's Fraud and Community Safety Manager, defended the Council's use of surveillance under RIPA by saying the operations were crucial for "combatting antisocial behavior."