U.K. Wants All Internet, Phone Use Tracked

The good news is the U.K. has decided against a government database tracking all Internet and phone use. The bad news is, they still want it done, but by the private sector.

Cost is the issue with the government doing it itself; why bother when you can simply require the private sector to do so, right? Research from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's department estimated that the proposal would have cost the government £2 billion to implement.

That said, Smith said that doing nothing was not an option. The data stored, according to Smith, would not include the content of such communication, but instead the "who, when, where and how" of the communication. She added:

"Communications data is an essential tool for law enforcement agencies to track murderers, paedophiles, save lives and tackle crime.

"Advances in communications mean that there are ever more sophisticated ways to communicate and we need to ensure that we keep up with the technology being used by those who seek to do us harm.

"It is essential that the police and other crime fighting agencies have the tools they need to do their job, However to be clear, there are absolutely no plans for a single central store."

As opposition legislators tried to remind people, the U.K. government doesn't have all that great a history of "hanging on to" data, as indicated by several instances of data loss. The fact that the U.K. government is essentially outsourcing its data storage doesn't really leave people with a good feeling either, based on comments made by, for example, Conservative home affairs spokesman Chris Grayling, who said:

"The big problem is that the government has built a culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter-terrorism and serious crime. Too many parts of government have too many powers to snoop on innocent people and that's really got to change."
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said:

"I am pleased that the Government has climbed down from the Big Brother plan for a centralized database of all our emails and phone calls. However, any legislation that requires individual communications providers to keep data on who called whom and when will need strong safeguards on access.

"It is simply not that easy to separate the bare details of a call from its content. What if a leading business person is ringing Alcoholics Anonymous, or a politician's partner is arranging to hire a porn video?

"There has to be a careful balance between investigative powers and the right to privacy."
Readers, what do you think? How long before everything we do everywhere is tracked, or is that already happening, and we just don't know it?
Via:  BBC
Kiristo 5 years ago

I'm sure it will happen if it isn't already. I doubt that it is totally yet, but it will. I said in another topic that I felt we may be in the golden age of the internet and stuff like this reaffirms that to me. How long before sharing/pirating data will be impossible because all of our traffic will be monitored and restricted? Nationwide blocks on traffic to sites like piratebay. Qatar and I think China are just a few countries that already censor websites and such. How long before the US or world as a whole tracks and blocks our online traffic? I don't see it as an "if" but "when".

3vi1 5 years ago

>> Communications data is an essential tool for law enforcement agencies to track murderers, paedophiles, save lives and tackle crime.

Oh noze! Won't somebody think about the children?!?!

This is a completely impractical idea submitted by people who don't understand technology, at all. Such a database should never realistically be admissible in court, because it's just too easy for people that understand tech to game the system.

Let's see what the data will say about the average "communication"...

Who: Uhmmm... can't say for sure. I can give you the IP address, but it could be anyone at that residence, cybercafe or within wireless range.

When: Steve couldn't have been the murderer in the mall, because the phone records show he was leaving a voicemail to a friend from his house at the exact same time! Or, he used a cron job to have his ip phone leave the message.

Where: This is where we play the trojaned proxy game and you realize the communication could have originated anywhere from China to low earth orbit.

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