UK government to monitor calls, emails, texts and website visits
After a week of government interference in fuel distribution which left the public fuming at the price hikes and massive queuing at the pumps. Civil liberties groups are now criticizing new government plans to be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK.
Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications in real time under new legislation set to be announced soon.
The Home Office estimates that the programme which internet providers will be paid to store hundreds of millions of pieces of data for up to two years will cost the British taxpayer £2billion over its first decade alone.
Beyond this point there will be annual running costs of £200million – or £380 a minute.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have warned that lives could be damaged by problems of mistaken identity and raised the prospect that service providers could use the vast data to profile their users for commercial gain. It will subject every citizen to intrusive monitoring, and expose us to the risk of massive fraud on an unprecedented scale.
Tory MP David Davis called it "an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people".
The Home Office said the move was key to tackling crime and terrorism.
A previous attempt to introduce a similar law was abandoned by the former Labour government in 2006 in the face of fierce opposition from the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats as well as civil liberties groups.
The then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith did pursue efforts similar to those being revisited now, but the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats continued to voice their concerns.
The shadow home secretary at the time, Chris Grayling, said the government had "built a culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter-terrorism and serious crime".
Chris Huhne, then the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, said any legislation requiring communications providers to keep records of contact would need "strong safeguards on access".
One cant help wonder the messy and exciting consequences once the snoops start snooping on the snoopers!
More than 70,000 Britons have in the past 18 hours put their names under a petition that calls on the government to stop legalizing unrestricted “snooping” on the public.