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Government Working on Huge Spying programme

User on keyboardThe Home Office is planning to monitor and record every text message, email, phone call, and every website visited by UK citizens. They been in discussion with ISP’s and telecoms companies for a few months and plans could be officially announced in May this year.

Under the proposed plans, the Government will order broadband providers, landline and mobile phone companies to save the information for up to a year under a new security scheme.

The actual contents won’t be stored, but rather the information on the senders, recipients and their geographical whereabouts. Direct messages to users of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter will also be saved and so will information exchanged between players in online video games. The actual information will be stored by individual companies rather than the government.

The news has sparked huge controversy about the risks of hacking, privacy issues and fears that the sensitive information could be used to send spam texts and emails.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘Britain is already one of the most spied on countries off-line and this is a shameful attempt to watch everything we do online in the same way.

‘The vast quantities of data that would be collected would arguably make it harder for the security services to find threats before a crime is committed, and involve a wholesale invasion of all our privacy online that is hugely disproportionate and wholly unnecessary. The data will cost companies significant costs in terms of storage and retrieval.

The plans have been drawn up by the home office at the request of MI5, MI6 and the GCHQ.  Security services would then be able to request information on people they have under surveillance and could piece together their movements with information provided.

According to The Sunday Times ministers are planning to include the spy initiative called the Communications Capabilities Development Programme in the Queen’s speech in May.

Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said: ‘This would be a systematic effort to spy on all of our digital communications.

‘No state in history has been able to gather the level of information proposed,’ he said to The Sunday Times.

So while the government parades around the world stage and lectures other countries on internet freedom and censorship, it is planning the very same draconian measures as utilised by those regimes it condemns.

 


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