Government to keep details of every phone call, text message, email and internet search

21 February 2012

spy-vs-spy_tofu_prv_2How much do you like being spied on? Not at all? Well, you'll be thrilled to hear that the government are planning on forcing all landline, mobile phone companies and broadband providers to store all their data for a year, to be made available to security services under a new scheme.

For the first time, the security services will have widespread access to information about who has been communicating with each other on social networking sites such as Facebook. This is all in the name of fighting terrorists, obviously.

So what does this mean? Well, direct messages between subscribers on Twitter and Facebook would be stored, as well as messages sent between players using their consoles online.

What's worrying about this, apart from the obvious intrusion, is how well the powers-that-be will look after it. Databases have gone walkies in the past and, without doubt, hackers will be on this like a shot. The government won't be holding this info themselves, but rather, asking BT, Sky, Virgin Media, Vodafone and O2 (and others) to keep the records themselves.

Ironically enough, despite the recent furore over phone-tapping from newspapers, officials will now be allowed to make use of the practice, as well as monitor emails and text-messages.

Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, a civil liberties campaign organisation, said: “This would be a systematic effort to spy on all of our digital communications. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats started their government with a big pledge to roll back the surveillance state. No state in history has been able to gather the level of information proposed - it’s a way of collecting everything about who we talk to just in case something turns up.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public. As set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review we will legislate as soon as Parliamentary time allows to ensure that the use of communications data is compatible with the Government’s approach to civil liberties.”

TOPICS:   Privacy   Broadband

11 comments

  • FaceOff
    These are the actions of a police state of the type we (erm, not me personally) fought two world wars to avoid. We might as well let the terrorists into power if we have to loose our civil freedoms anyway. What is the point. Oh shit, the SS are at the door, I'm done for. I should not have posted this.
  • Zleet
    I'd be okay if a shadowy government body is keeping tabs as you kind of expect that but when this kind of thing becomes official you end up with local council jobsworths using anti terror laws to spy on a family to see if they really do live in a school catchment area. Really don't want a civil servant seeing the amount of disgusting, degrading and disturbing porn I browse.
  • Jeremy
    So it seems we have lost "The War Against Terror". Didn't realise it was 1984 already.
  • Boris
    Do not worry chums. I have every faith in the government (although I think that duffer Dave should move on and let a clever bod take charge) and you should not worry unless you are a terrorist or dirty commie one suchlike. I would not dream of taking advantage of any of the information that comes my way through the met and MI7 such as what Mof was upto last Tuesday via that web-link to Thiland. It's line they say; if you are at all worried about this vital security measure then you should be locked up you criminal scum. Luckily, thanks to this spiffing idea, we can quickly identify the guilty parties instantly and keep an eye on them! Bingo!
  • Chewbacca
    They've been doing this for years. Fact. Why they've decided to make it official is anyone's guess.
  • Al
    Most of this is just implementing an (old) EU directive (2006/24/EC) which says that EU states need to store phone numbers and IP addresses that you connect to. Nobody seemed to mind back in 2006 so I'm not sure why anyone is worried now. Since this new legislation will apply to broadband suppliers (not twitter/facebook directly) I'm not sure how effective trying to store tweets/messages will be. I guess it could work as long as nobody invents some kind of secure version of http which stops broadband suppliers intercepting traffic ...
  • Jeremy
    Get a secure VPN.
  • James d.
    google searches? I don't believe it.
  • Tom
    I think we need to define 'security services', could I set my self up a a DICK and pay some money to get access to all this information?
  • Bloke
    Another large-scale public-sector IT project. No worries, then, as it's bound to be a spectacular cock-up as most of the rest have been.
  • Bloody O.
    Has noone heard of RIPA ?, old news this..

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