UK: Home Office spy plan

By EDRi · February 29, 2012

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Deutsch: [Überwachungspläne des britischen Innenministeriums |]

The UK Government plans to store details on all phone calls or online
communications for a year in databases that will be available to security
services, under the pretext of anti-terrorism fight.

Landline and mobile phone companies and broadband providers will be obliged
to store the numbers or email addresses of people communicating not only by
phone or email but also through social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.

The Home Office seems to have already begun negotiations with Internet
companies over the plan which could be officially announced in May 2012.
The news is particularly worrying from several points of view, related to
the very large amount of data to be gathered, the disproportionality of the
measures, the increased risk of data hacking and the use of sensitive data
for various purposes including sending spam.

“This will be ripe for hacking. Every hacker, every malicious threat, every
foreign government is going to want access to this. And if communications
providers have a government mandate to start collecting this information
they will be incredibly tempted to start monitoring this data themselves so
they can compete with Google and Facebook,” stated Gus Hosein of Privacy

Security services will be allowed to request information on people they have
under surveillance, being able to trace their movements based on the
information provided as mobile phone records are able to show within yards
where a call was made from and emails may be tracked using a computer’s IP

“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,” stated Nick Pickles,
director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch who
believes that such a plan would be the end of privacy online.

“No state in history has been able to gather the level of information
proposed,” said Jim Killock, executive director of the EDRi-member Open
Rights Group, to The Sunday Times adding that this would add to “a
systematic effort to spy on all of our digital communications.”

According to the Sunday Times, the government is planning to introduce these
plans, called the Communications Capabilities Development Programme, in the
Queen’s speech in May.

Phone and email records to be stored in new spy plan (18.02.2012)

Government spy programme will monitor every phone call, text and email…
and details will be kept for up to a year (20.02.2012)