UK police forces are teaming up to form high-tech regional surveillance units to carry out covert and intrusive investigations.
The new units are aimed at making it easier for police to monitor computers, phones and wireless networks, according to The Guardian.
Earlier this month, police forces in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire formed the East Midlands Technical Surveillance Unit, which is believed to be one of at least eight such regional organisations, the paper said.
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The Guardian cites a former Metropolitan Police specialist saying he believes the development will make it easier for police to conduct counter-surveillance operations such as installing keyloggers on suspects' computers to record what they type.
Civil liberties pressure group Big Brother Watch has expressed concern over the expansion of the police's ability to conduct invasive surveillance, and called for a review of these powers.