Bumbling British cops repeatedly made wrongful arrests due to typos during 2017, the heavily-delayed Investigatory Powers Commissioner's annual report reveals.
The document outlines 18 "error investigations" the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office (IPCO) conducted into the misuse of surveillance powers by UK government agencies, including wrongful arrests and law enforcement raids due to data mixups — such as erroneous information relating to dates, times and IP addresses — and even mispellings in filed warrants.
A number of anonymized case studies of these phenomena are offered — tech magazine The Register has indicated one relates to Nigel Lang, an innocent man from Sheffield who, due to police mistakenly adding an extra digit to his IP address, was wrongfully arrested along with his wife on suspicion of possessing and distributing indecent images of children in July 2011.
While Lang's case is perhaps the most egregious documented in the report, such errors appear relatively commonplace, with other case studies indicating the IP addresses of individuals accused of accessing child pornography were repeatedly connected to incorrect home addresses.
In another case, an ISP changed its timestamps from the 24-hour to 12-hour clock without informing authorities, or including an AM or PM designation in reports.
In another, an innocent individual's home was raided by police — in the mean time, a wanted suspect (identified as an "EU national") fled the country. However, despite the litany of grievous errors documented in the report, there's no indication any individual or agency was held to account for any failing at any time.