Almost 450,000 requests were made to monitor people's telephone calls, e-mails and post by secret agencies and other authorised bodies in just over a year, the spying watchdog said yesterday.
In the first report of its kind from the Interceptions of Communications Commissioner, it was also revealed that nearly 4,000 errors were reported in a 15-month period from 2005 to 2006. While most appeared to concern "lower-level data" such as requests for telephone lists and individual e-mail addresses, 67 were mistakes concerning direct interception of communications.
Sir Swinton Thomas, the report's author, described the figure as "unacceptably high".
The disclosures came as Tony Blair admitted that the fingerprints of everyone obtaining identity cards could be checked against nearly a million unsolved crimes.
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