UK Snoopers' charter to force ISPs to monitor internet and phone users

By Lee Kaelin on June 15, 2012, 10:00 AM

The UK's proposed Communications Data Bill (PDF), an update to the previously highly controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), was laid before the Parliament yesterday as the government pushes forward with giving the Police, as well as other intelligence agencies access to its citizens' online lifestyles, geolocation-based data, phone usage and even whom they speak to.

Home Secretary Theresa May said, "communications data saves lives. It is a vital tool for the police to catch criminals and to protect children" when publishing the new bill. "If we stand by as technology changes, we will leave police officers fighting crime with one hand tied behind their backs."

The Home Secretary did also point out that these new proposals will not include the reading of content of websites, email or social networks. "Checking communication records, not content, is a crucial part of day-to-day policing and the fingerprinting of the modern age - we are determined to ensure its continued availability in cracking down on crime."

Understandably the proposal has caused a massive uproar with civil liberty groups as well as the ISPs themselves, as it will force them and wireless carriers to retain and store communication records of its customers far beyond what is normally expected during the course of conducting business.

"This is all about giving the police unsupervised access to data. It is shocking for a government that opposed Labour's plans on this to propose virtually the same thing," said Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group. "It will cost billions of pounds and will end up only catching the stupid or the innocent. Terrorists will circumvent it."

While exact conversations won't be kept on records, the people UK citizens speak to as well as the websites they visit would be, among other things. Combined with geolocation-based data this will give law enforcement agencies a means of identifying almost every aspect of an individual's lifestyle.

"The Bill is as expected - an unprecedented and unwarranted attack on our privacy that will see the Government track where we make calls, who we email and what everyone does online. We are all suspects now," said Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, who described the Act as "the greatest attack on private life seen for generations."




User Comments: 9

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Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It seems internet freedoms are constantly threatened by 'so called democratic' institutions through legislation in so many countries.

Guest said:

Just use DNSCrypt from OpenDNS to encrypt your web surfing from your ISP.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't like this that's coming in, It's a shocking attack on freedoms...and the only reason the ISPs are moaning is because they've been left with the bill.

Some saving grace is that the power won't be given to local councils and anyone who is under this power must apply for a warrant before access is given IIRC.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

It seems internet freedoms are constantly threatened by 'so called democratic' institutions through legislation in so many countries.

Fascinating how that works, isn't it?

yRaz yRaz said:

It seems internet freedoms are constantly threatened by 'so called democratic' institutions through legislation in so many countries.

People love using the word "democrat" with a negative connotation. Am I right in assuming that that was a political jab?

SCJake said:

No that was not a political jab. the word "Democratic" has a meaning that translates to more liberty and freedom. The 'so called democratic' statement was implying the irony of how "Democratic" organizations tend to (not all) actually be socialist which goes so far in helping people that it becomes corrupt and ends up owning everyone.

its a mere catch 22.

you go with Republicans who are stereotyped to be more controlling and lazy when they actually just go with "if it aint broke dont fix it"

or

go with Democrats who are stereotyped to be a bunch of hippie nutjobs that are claiming to be doing more for the people while providing programs to help people that end up getting those people caught up in them

either way one party is NEVER always right

Tygerstrike said:

Im more surprised that this is happening in the UK then anything else. This is yet another atempt at curtailing and controlling a populace. I mean really the average individual doesnt have a whole lot to worry about unless they themselves are doing something illegal. Just funny to see how "progressive" the UK has become. Now all we need is the queen to have a little black mustache and her royal guard to goosestep.

Guest said:

We have come to the point that if we use the Internet everything we do is now part of a pool

of "big data" and that "big data" tools hold the posibility of building a profile about you

which may in the future impact getting a job, getting insurance, put on a watch list, being branded "radical", "conservative" and who knows what else.

We are heading to 1984+++

Guest said:

@Tygerstrike

I mean really the average individual doesnt have a whole lot to worry about unless they themselves are doing something illegal.

All you have to do to receive and open an email containing few pictures from adult content providing server, and on your ISP records - BOOM you're marked as child abuser suspect (they don't plan to monitor contents to check innocence, don't they?)

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