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article imageUK Government announces plans to monitor digital communication

By Milo Noblet     Apr 1, 2012 in Technology
The UK Government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, text messages and web habits of every person in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon.
Communications providers (mobile networks, ISPs, hosting companies, etc) will be required to give GCHQ access to their customers' data on demand, in real time.
The Home Office claims the move is vital to tackling crime and terrorism, but civil rights groups have criticised it. Conservative MP David Davis voiced his concern over the plans, calling it "an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people"
Attempts by the previous Labour government to introduce similar laws failed after widespread opposition, including from the Conservative party.
The new law would not allow GCHQ access to the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant, but it would enable intelligence officers to see who a person or group is in contact with, when, and how long for. They would also have the ability to see which websites a person had visited.
MP David Davis told the BBC
that "What this is talking about doing is not focusing on terrorists or criminals, it's absolutely everybody's emails, phone calls, web access... All that's got to be recorded for two years and the government will be able to get at it with no by your leave from anybody."
Adrian Kennard, of AAISP said on his personal blog that "This is crazy, from a technical point of view.", going into how difficult it would be for these plans to be implemented, also saying that "anyone that has any reason to hide their communications data can do so - it is very simple."
He stated that "AAISP have no intention of installing any monitoring equipment. Sadly, if the government have any sense, they won't expect us to - they will install it in large carriers or at the borders to the country - like China."
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