The Herald reports:
British authorities unveiled an ambitious plan to log details about every Web visit, email, phone call or text message in the U.K. and in a sharply-worded editorial the nation’s top law enforcement official accused those worried about the surveillance program of being either criminals or conspiracy theorists.
An outrageous proposed law. Private communication should be logged and recorded once a warrant is granted. But they should not otherwise be routinely recorded and stored by legislative fiat.
Yet plenty of people were worried, including a senior lawmaker from May’s governing Conservative Party.
“This is a huge amount of information, very intrusive to collect on people,” David Davis, one of the proposal’s most outspoken critics, told BBC radio. “It’s not content, but it’s incredibly intrusive.”
Human rights defenders were aghast. Privacy group Big Brother Watch said the proposal risked turning Britain into a “nation of suspects.” Civil rights organisation Liberty said the law would mean the “indiscriminate stockpiling of private data.”
The bill would force providers companies such as the BT Group PLC or Virgin Media Inc. to log where emails, tweets, Skype calls and other messages were sent from, who was sending them, who they were sent to, and how large they were. Details of file transfers, phone calls, text messages and instant conversations, such as those carried over BlackBerry Messenger, would also be recorded.
The bill demands that providers collect IP addresses, details of customers’ electronic hardware, and subscriber information, including names, addresses, and payment information.
What May didn’t mention in her editorial and the Home Office left off its press release was that the government also is seeking to keep logs of citizens’ internet history, giving officials access to the browsing habits of roughly 60 million people including sensitive visits to medical, dating, or pornography websites.
This is simply horrendous.
In a statement to fellow lawmakers, May struck a measured tone, saying she recognized “that these proposals raise important issues around personal privacy” but that the law would be balanced.
She was less measured in The Sun, where she dismissed worries that the bill would stomp on free expression as “ridiculous claims” dreamed up by “conspiracy theorists.”
“Without changing the law the only freedom we would protect is that of criminals, terrorists and pedophiles,” she said.
Yeah, right.Tags: civil liberties, United Kingdom