UK government plans to force ISPs, carriers to store web and phone usage

By Lee Kaelin on February 21, 2012, 12:00 PM

A new report has surfaced that reveals the UK government plans to force British ISPs and mobile operators to keep online communications by internet users, as well as phone call details, text messages and website visits. The proposed anti-terror plans would see UK ISPs ordered to keep this information for at least one year, and make it available when requested by Goverment security services, according to the report by the Daily Telegraph.

The proposed Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP) claims the actual content of calls and emails would not be recorded, however, the phone numbers, email addresses and identities of those using social networks and phone handsets would be kept. The information stored would be able to identify activities of phone and internet users and who they interact with, both on and offline.

The collected information would even extend as far as monitoring the conversations with those chatting whilst playing games online, including those chatting using Facebook and direct messages between Twitter users. It would in effect monitor your entire online activity, the websites you visit, who you speak to and everything you do with your mobile phone – a major concern when you consider your smartphone can be used to track you.

Privacy rights groups are understandably angered by the news, even more so given the Conservative party's previous promises to collect less personal data than had often been used by previous regimes.

Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group says the coalition government has simply revised the heavily critized Labour goverment's Intercept Modernisation Programme which was dropped in 2009 amid strong protests.

“Labour’s online surveillance plans have hardly changed but have been rebranded. They are just as intrusive and offensive,” Killock said. “The Coalition opposed Labour’s plans in opposition. Now, despite civil liberties commitments from Conservatives and Lib Dems, Home Office officials are planning to push through the same online surveillance capabilities.”

Killock felt the whole subject had been hidden from Parliament in a bid to build the surveillance plans before the politicians really found out what was happening.

As the London Olympics move closer, the government is growing increasingly concerned about the increased risk of acts of terrorism. “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,” a Home Office spokesperson said.

The new plan calls for ISPs to keep the information locally, as opposed to inside a government controlled facility, which raises concerns regarding security considering the growing number of hackers breaching servers and posting personal information online. Many believe it would present a huge target, with the content worth an absolute fortune to cybercriminals.

“It is important that proposals to update Government’s capabilities to intercept and retain communications data in the new communications environment are proportionate, respect freedom of expression and the privacy of users, and are widely consulted upon in an open and transparent manner,”said Andrew Kernahan of the Internet Service Providers’ Association.

Despite not being informed prior to the news breaking, when speaking to IT Pro, ISP British Telecom stated the company “adheres to all legislation applying to its activities and co-operates fully with law enforcement agencies.”




User Comments: 24

Got something to say? Post a comment
Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

I know I said it had begun, yet didn't know how far it would go ...

now i'm scared !!!! ...

cheers!

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't see this going over well with the UK citizens. I imagine London, and other parts of the UK will burn again this year.

Guest said:

big deal.. who cares?

Raswan Raswan said:

This will never become a reality. "Anti-terror" measures are becoming increasingly vague and less pressing to the average person. Can't see this ever going through.

Guest said:

OMG, we have to search and pick out "terrorist activites". It seems like you fear the everyday actions of your normal citizens more than actual terrorists. It also seems like terrorists would know what you're doing and switch to other means of communications, therefore leaving your citizens privacy violated for no legitimate reason. It's not right when the rights and privacy of a nation are violated to protect against a few. You're killing a mosquito on a glass window with a hammer. The glass window being your citizen's rights.

Guest said:

They can start by storing my tissue paper usage.

Guest said:

Imagine having to go through pages and pages of game chat logs....>.<

Guest said:

I'd rather just put up with the occasional terrorist attack.

Guest said:

This really needs to end. Let people keep their human rights!

Camikazi said:

Guest said:

This really needs to end. Let people keep their human rights!

Didn't you know? The governments of the world don't consider their citizens as humans, we are just sheep and cattle to be used for their amusement and profit.

Guest said:

Holy mother of God!!

I think it's time to fall off-grid :/

Guest said:

this is communism!!

PinothyJ said:

Guest said:

this is communism!!

No it is not...

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@CamiKazi

Govts treat people in this way because 'the people' have become mental slaves of the system, they simply don't want to get out of their comfort zones and protest/fight to keep their rights. Also, historically, in economic declines they tend to become oppressive anyway.

Guest said:

This has been going on for years in Ireland, 3 years of data must be stored, not the content just to comms details eg To, From etc

Its a European Directive and has been in place for many many years, just slow to implement it or only coming to light now in the UK

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If i am being logged for the purpose of me being a terrorist in the future, then fair enough. It's the fact that things like this could easily sprout in the future to being used for far more less serious and stupid means. Just like Internet censorship of one "bad" site soon grows into censorship of 5 "bad" sites, then 20 and 30.

Things like this have to stop, in my opinion.

Emexrulsier said:

lol imagine going through chat logs and voice comms of people playing large rts games or even css the whole UK government would think there is a plot for terrorists to invade.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

UK government plans to force ISPs, carriers to store web and phone usage

In other news, England has removed the term, "constitutional", from the term , "constitutional monarchy", and reopened the Tower of London to accommodate the possible onslaught of political prisoners, generated via the expected apprehension of illegal downloaders....!!!

(Follow the bouncing ball.......)>>>>

"And when you walk on England's green".........ROFLMAO.......

Tygerstrike said:

They DO have the olympics comming soon. Many of you may be too young to remember the 70's and how terrorist acts at that time ruined the olympics. And that was the 1970's!! Now we have easier to access weapons, explosives ect. How would England fare if a plane was flown into the area the olympics was being hosted at?

I dont think your queen would be happy explaining to her good citizens how the govt. "dropped the ball" and let something like that happen. So the ISP have to log the facts of any calls, texts, whatever. A little proactive security measure may keep a massive tragedy from happening.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

They DO have the olympics comming soon. Many of you may be too young to remember the 70's and how terrorist acts at that time ruined the olympics. And that was the 1970's!! Now we have easier to access weapons, explosives ect. How would England fare if a plane was flown into the area the olympics was being hosted at?

I dont think your queen would be happy explaining to her good citizens how the govt. "dropped the ball" and let something like that happen. So the ISP have to log the facts of any calls, texts, whatever. A little proactive security measure may keep a massive tragedy from happening.

So it was you that drafted the US "Patriot Act"?

Tygerstrike said:

@Capt.

No but after dealing with all the BS of 9/11 its understandable why a govt. would want to protect their citizens against that form of attack. Then add all the atheletes from other countrys. Plus all the ppl comming in from around the world to view the olympics. Youre talking about alot of lives that would be ruined if a 9/11 style attack happend. So they are logging your info somewhere. Its going to happen anyways somewhere down the line.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You missed one small thing there i.e. hijacking a plane is no longer as easy as it once was; just see how few plane hijackings has been happening in recent years, so that point no longer holds much value. Besides 'terrorism' is literally used by 'so called democratic' states as well, to achieve their own goals when they see it fit, blurring the lines between the right and wrong in the end, but that is another debate for which this is not the right place.

Guest said:

Just another small part of the emerging "surveillance state".

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