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UK Government To Demand Data On Every Call And Email

Plans could force ISPs and phone operators to hand over records on all phone calls, emails, Tweets and Facebook messages

On by Steve McCaskill 20

ISPs and landline and mobile phone operators could be forced to store records of calls, texts, emails and visited websites under a new government scheme designed to combat terrorism.

The government has begun negotiations with the companies involved and the new Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP) could be announced as early as May, according to reports.

Freedom of access to speech

The databases would not record the content of the customer’s communications but would store the numbers and email addresses of the sender and the recipient and, for the first time, security services will have access to Facebook communications. Direct Messages between Twitter users will also be monitored, as well as users of online gaming services.

ISPs and phone operators will have to store the data for one year and make it available to security services, such as MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, who have been lobbying for the scheme.

If the CCDP were to be implemented, authorities would be granted ‘real-time’ access to suspects’ communications and would also be able to reconstruct their movements as records would be able to show within yards where a call or text was made, while internet browsing histories could be matched to IP addresses.

The scheme is based on a Labour plan which was scrapped due to a lack of support and security fears. Its plans made provision for a centralised database, although this was dropped due to cost.

The project appears to have been resurrected over fears of a terrorist attack at this summer’s Olympic Games in London and security services’ inability to track terrorist’s communication over the internet. The government has already pledged ‘unprecedented levels’ of cyber security for the event.

Privacy concerns

Not surprisingly, the prospect of the CCDP has raised concerns over a loss of privacy but also about the security of the stored records. If they fell into the wrong hands, these could be used by hackers to launch spam email and text campaigns, while details of visited websites could also be used for commercial gain.

“Labour’s online surveillance plans have hardly changed but have been rebranded. They are just as intrusive and offensive,” commented Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group. “The plans are a huge waste of time and money, as well as being a huge intrusion on our civil liberties. Online government surveillance is the last thing we need right now.”

The Open Rights Group has also launched a petition, addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron, his deputy Nick Clegg and home secretary Theresa May, which allows the public to voice opposition to the scheme.

“I do not want the government to try to intercept every UK email, Facebook account and online communication,” it read. “It would be pointless – as it will be easy for criminals to encrypt and evade – and expensive. It would also be illegal: mass surveillance would be a breach of our fundamental right to privacy. Please cancel the Communications Capabilities Development Plan.”

Steve McCaskill
Author: Steve McCaskill
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Last comment

20 replies to UK Government To Demand Data On Every Call And Email

  • On February 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm by Damien

    I see how something like this can be seen as needed for the olympics but then what?

    It is time for mandatory viewings of V in the schools.

  • On February 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm by Fred

    Total waste of time and effort. Something our government excels in…

  • On February 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm by John Nagle, Silicon Valley, CA

    What terrorism problem? The IRA is no longer active as a terrorist organization. Bin Laden is dead. There’s a certain amount of low-level trouble, but it’s more the occasional nutcase than an organized effort with political goals. Drunk drivers cause far more casualties.

    What both the UK and the US seem to have is a large anti-terrorism establishment with too little work to do.

  • On February 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm by Nicholas Barnes

    Make no mistake, this isn’t about terrorism – the measures proposed are so easily circumvented by anybody with even half a clue. It’s about the control the government want of us. Terrorism has never been a /serious/ threat, but its an extremely good way of making people scared and scared people are quite happy to suffer a little loss of freedom.

  • On February 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm by Telonio

    That is so Noughties…. Email! Phone calls!

    Any evader worth their chips would avoid old skool means. The people it targets are everyday folks and lastmovers.

    What a huge expensive waste of (taxpayer to unreliable megacontractor) wonga.

  • On February 21, 2012 at 12:03 am by Caser

    A better name would be the Communication Capabilities Capture Program, or CCCP. I think that acronym really captures the spirit of the law.

  • On February 21, 2012 at 1:42 am by AntipodeanIncredulity

    How do these idiots get elected, and what exactly is their goal? Do they think they’ll somehow be up the top of the pile, away from intrusive scrutiny themselves?

  • On February 21, 2012 at 10:00 am by Dean Smith

    Who monitors the monitors?

  • On February 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm by Big Brother is watching you

    Nicholas Barnes is spot on! This isn’t about terrorism, it’s about total control…I blame Bush!

  • On February 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm by Malcolm B

    You have really got to read 1984. I suspect all the sheep out there will either ignore this or feel they need this for ‘protection.’ Those sheep of the view that ‘well I have nothing to hide’ way outnumber those of us who are aware. Therefore we are one step, or several, closer to complete control.

  • On February 29, 2012 at 10:42 am by Tinkerbell

    The STASI are alive & kicking,expect to see gov.websites taking mass hits soon.
    CCTV’s,bank transactions,phone\mobile calls,browsing,National Insurance,Tax,DWP,hospital\doctor,police,criminal records,all up for sale to the data farming businesses.

    All in the name of an ‘open’ society, ‘open’ to gov. & .com only,we are half screwed.

  • On March 2, 2012 at 10:35 am by s

    addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron, his deputy Nick Clegg… needs reprint …

    addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron, his lapdog Nick Clegg

    • On March 21, 2012 at 12:08 am by Favour

      To those who have been sceptical about gang stalking and electronic harrassement of which multidudes of innocent people have suffered for decades here in UK and around the globe.The gangstalkers wants to mind control and isolate their victims so does the government in this case. Where are the human rights in this and where is the justice? Why then investigate the World News phone hacking. Who is going to hold the government accountable? Aren’t these double standards? They will surely get fan mails from the Stasi. A very sad situation. May God help this nation.

  • On March 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm by s.j.reddi

    The records of communications on the net, i.e. texts, emails,phone calls being stored and available would only lead to exploitation by the unscrupulous, i.e. the schizoid megalomaniacs would inevitably find their way to that information, such is the paranoia amongst security organisations that it causes an irrational need to malign, megalomania having that need, is where one of the problems would arise. There would have to be very strict controls as to who should have access to that information. Access should not be of a clandestine nature, irrefutable concrete reasons should be presented to the owner of that history, if necessary in court.

  • On March 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm by Bill

    Welcome to your new Government Comrade. These guys would get fan mail from the Stasi.

  • On March 9, 2012 at 12:20 am by Harmonicaman

    No problem, if they intend on spying on the minutae of my life, I shall start inserting random words into emails and txts that I send.

    Hi mom, will be late for dinner tonight, bombs, nuclear, sorry but my car has a problem with its exhaust,

    Have fun Big Brother

    • On March 12, 2012 at 9:39 am by sovereigntea

      This move would allow networks of influence to be mapped and the identification of key players.

      A Perfect tool for a totalitarian state suppressing key voices of dissent or information propagation,

      Similar is the application of such in the business sphere, business contacts and relationships might also identified and mapped.

      So the likes of Murdoch ( Sky ISP ) would have access to data allowing business networks and relationships to be identified. e.g supplier and sales contacts.

      Any foreign intelligence agency would have a wet dream over this data.

      Whoever has the means to access to the data would gain an advantage.

  • On March 12, 2012 at 11:57 pm by Joey

    Lest we forget laptops left in pubs/taxis. Today, just for a laugh, I think I’ll give some sociopaths the key to my house, my bank card and pin number. They told me it was to protect me so I believed them.

  • On March 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm by Mark

    The problem I see with this is that people will stop using phones,Internet,texting, etc and companies might go bankrupt due to this.

  • On March 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm by John

    Add a simple white on white signature to every e-mail etc containing every possible word and phrase likely to interest the ‘monitors’ that you can think of and overload the system. they cannot possibly handle the data – or even find it useful if everyone does this. and it will be unnoticeable to the recipients.

    Make it a rule that you send as many empty ‘empty’ emails with signature to everyone in your address book every day (use a circulation list). Make up recipients if you don’t want to annoy your friends and colleagues – they will come back undeliverable – and a rule to automaticall delete them will save you from having to deal with them as well.

    Play them at their own game – they want all the info – give it to them in spades !

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