UK: Plan to Monitor Internet Communication

In an effort to “modernize” police tactics and surveillance, UK’s home secretary has called for the implementation of a system that records internet contact between users, according to BBC News.

This comes in the wake of Britain’s ruling out of a controversial proposal to set up a government database to store Internet and telephone traffic including phone numbers and email addresses.

The new system would track all emails, calls, and internet use, yet according to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, there would be no government-run database.

“Communications data is an essential tool for law enforcement agencies to track murderers, pedophiles, save lives, and tackle crime,” Smith proclaimed.

Under this plan, communication service providers will be required to record internet contacts between people. According to Smith, the new system would not record content: “What we are talking about is who is at one end [of a communication] and who is at the other—and how they are communicating.”

There is substantial opposition to this plan. Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne spoke of the need for a “careful balance between investigative powers and the right to privacy.”

Moreover, according to Conservative home affairs spokesman Chris Grayling: “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.”