Internet 'snooper's charter' could jeopardise national security
Despite a 2010 Coalition pledge to “end the storage of internet and email records without good reason” the Government has recently announced plans to record every Briton’s online activity and mobile phone use would be a disaster and could put national security at risk and may not even be technically workable, internet companies have warned MPs.
Under Home Office plans, ISPs would be required to store details of all customers’ web visits, email access and mobile phone usage for a year.
The London Internet Exchange (Linx), which represents service providers, said the Government’s controversial surveillance proposals represent a “dramatic shift” in the balance between individuals’ privacy and the power of the state.
It said forcing them to keep details of all website visits and mobile phone calls would in effect create a communications data profile for every user, which also would affect the relationship of trust they have with customers.
Authorities would be able to search the database to look for all people who were in Trafalgar Square at a particular time and date and who had visited certain websites in the previous year, it is claimed.
If this "profiling engine" were ever hacked into, "it would constitute a significant threat to national security". But Linx said its members had "significant doubts" about the feasibility of building the system.
In addition, the draft Bill is so written so loosely that it would allow ministers an “effectively unfettered and wholly inappropriate” discretion to decide on how much intrusion should be allowed into citizens’ private lives.