|Big Brother UK's Total Surveillance Of All Communications|
|Written by Staff|
|Sunday, 19 February 2012 13:07|
Yesterday’s revelation that details of all British communications – emails, internet activity, phone calls and text messages – are to be stored in huge databases to which the intelligence agencies will have instant access, provided confirmation if needed that we are living in a fully fledged Big Brother-style surveillance state.
New legislation called the Communications Capabilities Development Programme, which according to The Daily Telegraph could be announced as early as May, will see broadband providers, landline and mobile phone companies ordered to store data on every call made and every text or email sent. Communications companies will be made to record details about the origin and destination of every call and email for a year and allow the security services “real time” access to this data, enabling extremely close surveillance of any British citizen.
Details of direct messages sent on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter are also to be stored, as well as communications between players in online games - allowing the intelligence services total oversight of the entirety of your online activity.
The proposed legislation marks a new low in the state and intelligence services’ ongoing assault on the civil liberties of the British people in the name of “security”. Drawn up by the Labour government, the project was originally known as the Intercept Modernisation Programme but was scrapped in November 2009 due to a lack of public support. The current Conservative and Liberal coalition government has revived the project, despite pledging before the election to reverse Labour’s intrusive surveillance policies – Dominic Grieve, then shadow home secretary and current Attorney General, even published a policy paper on the issue entitled Reversing the Rise of the Surveillance State.
As well as representing a massive attack on our privacy and civil liberties, the scheme also has serious implications in terms of how such a large amount of personal and sensitive data could possibly be stored securely. As Guy Hosein of Privacy International states:
“This will be ripe for hacking. Every hacker, every malicious threat, every foreign government is going to want access to this.”
The government already has an appalling record in terms of the secure storage of data to which it has access, and as the communications industry will be responsible for storing the data, it is also likely that these private companies will be tempted to use the information to bombard customers with targeted advertising.
Unsurprisingly the government’s justification for such outrageous legislation is the need to protect us from terrorism – despite intelligence agencies already having extensive powers to monitor people who they suspect of involvement in terrorist activities. The only successful British terrorist attack of recent years, the 7/7 London bombings, were carried out by men who included two already under surveillance by MI5. It is difficult to see how access to all of the communications records of anyone in Britain would help the intelligence services in preventing such a terrorist attack, when capable terrorists would be encrypting communications or interacting in code - and when MI5 were incapable of preventing 7/7 despite direct monitoring of two of those involved in its planning and execution.
As usual our freedoms are being even more tightly restricted as the state pushes ahead with its desire for absolute control, using the standard excuse of wanting to protect us from terrorists – terrorists who would be much less inclined to want to do us harm, if our government had not been systematically bombing and invading Muslim countries for the last decade.