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