UK Privacy Outfits Opposed Communications BillAdded: Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
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UK government’s justification of the Communications Bill seems to have angered privacy groups. They claim that the plans will tarnish everyone with the same “guilty” brush.
Theresa May is expected today to push ahead with a draft of the legislation, which suggests to allow police access to people’s social networking and online activity, including emails, gaming and P2P phone calls. When outlining plans to store this data for a year, the Home Secretary claimed that it was necessary to help keep up and target criminals like terrorists and sex offenders.
Nevertheless, privacy groups explained that the legislation in question could violate human rights and tarnish everyone in the United Kingdom with the same “guilty” brush. The Open Rights Group believes that more consideration is necessary to make sure that the law is in line with human rights. As a result, the law could be challenged in a human rights court and pushed back in order to protect the public.
The matter is that the authorities will be able to reveal the identities of whistleblowers, celebrities and journalists. Since it will all be through police will, the industry could be moving into very dangerous territory.
Meanwhile, the privacy campaign outfit Big Brother Watch shared the same concerns, saying that in our free society innocent people shouldn’t justify why the authorities can’t spy on them. In fact, the proposed legislation goes against the Coalition Agreement and Conservative pre-election policy. Moreover, it is called basically illiberal, intrusive and unable to improve national security.
Privacy International points out that in the United Kingdom, the industries have historically operated under the presumption that the authorities had no business peering into the lives of people unless there was good reason to do so. Now, the Communications Bill would reverse that presumption and change the relationship between people and authorities.
Thus far, police and security services are able to access details of online visits and other communications information only if it’s stored by phone or web companies. But the suggested legislation will provide automatic access to the police and many other agencies, including NHS trusts and the Environment Agency. All of them will be able to make a case before Parliament if they want to access this data.
June 19th,2012Posted by:
Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
|posted by (2012-06-19 21:41:14)|
|how is this not an invasion of privacy, it would untimatley abolish the need for warrants aswell......you may be guilty or not but im just going to have a nosey on the off chance, this doesnt seem right to me|
|They are ban out of order full stop. As far as i am concern that are privacy would be effected and human rights.|
|I am so sick of this government. It's as if they've learned absolutely nothing in recent years, re: privacy and the various agencies and local authorities that were coming up with any old excuse to access people's private data. Were they collectively out to lunch in the Commons when that was going on? They clearly read the papers, because they remembered to put them on their expenses, year after year.|
|posted by (2012-06-20 01:23:20)|
|Is it any different than going through customs and getting frisked and bag searched, sometimes they find criminals but 80% of the time they pick innocent people and it all started because because of drug traffickers and terrorists. I don`t agree with it but no matter what they will say if you have nothing to hide then don`t worry about it. Uk is turning like a communist state, we can`t even have the st georges cross hanging outside without foreigners calling police saying it`s racist.|
|In a country where people are being fined millions and or facing imprisonment for phone hacking scandals they plan to implement monitoring and keeping data of all users internet activity,emails,facebook etc,think they are going too far with that one,Big Brother gone one step beyond.|
Just so we are all on the same page though,its already being done on Facebook and accounts are monitored.
Here is my reply to the Home Office's spin that 'this is a minor change' to existing legislation.
Changing from requiring a warrant and giving a necessary reason; to a non-requirement for a warrant and non-necessity to present a valid reason for communications data is a major NOT a minor change and is rightly seen as a violation of individual privacy and a gross violation of the right to electronic communication without ANY un-warranted monitoring.
Internet service providers do not hold long-term web browsing records with good reason as most internet users would avoid any such ISP as a gross invasion of individual privacy and the right to a private life without unfettered government intervention.
Holding such records would be akin to holding individuals fingerprints and using a traceable microchip for all UK citizens, regardless of an individuals criminal or non-criminal intent/action.
Such monitoring at present only occurs in the very fascist and dictatorial states of Iran and China.
There was a huge public outcry against similar steps proposed by the previous Labour Government to the extent that any such proposals were withdrawn. It is to be rightly expected that there will be a similar public outcry this time also, which is also going to seriously hurt Government popularity.
I imagine that many a very wealthy businessman and very wealthy international corporations will be most unhappy about anything which tracks their communications data, especially where this communications data has or might have financial and secret business connotations.
It would also be a very small legislature change to subsequently add in the word content with very minimal publicity.
While I am totally against ANY un-warranted monitoring of electronic communication, email addresses also hold personal data, often easily identifying the sender and receiver of emails.
Personal privacy in regard to web browsing is paramount, for the safety of free speech, for legal adult web browsing without this being a matter of public record, and for legal perusal of politically orientated sites. Or else the ‘thought’ police scenario or political censorship might all too easily arise at any time in the future.
The political ramifications are vast. Opposition MPs and current Government MPs could not be sure that their email sending/receiving records, phone calling records and web browsing history would not be use for coercion or blackmail or if obtained by the press and media for who knows what.
Once the legislation was in place and used routinely, there are no safeguards as to use or misuse of the data. Councils routinely using supposed anti-terrorist legislation to snoop on householders over often very minor matters and it is most likely that something very similar will arise over use and misuse of communications data.
In investigating even very minor matters such as a dispute with neighbours, the Police will soon look at and possibly use communication data information against either or both parties to the dispute. As if they need any pretext, once they have unfettered access to this data.
Holding this data would also make it extraordinarily easy for content to be retrieved and examined and a 'retrospective' warrant obtained on the basis of information content in emails and phone conversations. Computer analysis of web pages browsed using whatever keywords they wish or might be deemed 'politically correct' would place hundreds of thousands of UK residents at risk of 'inference', 'the balance of probability' or pure unreasoned speculation. The fact that many 'adult' web sites direct adults to pages with content illegal in the UK automatically and unpreventably is particularly worrying as hidden scripts often redirect links other than intended by the web user to invisible to the user locations. Judges are not renowned for taking this inadvertent redirecting into account. The fact that most users will close the illegal web pages such accidental and illegal redirection of browsing causes immediately/instantly is of no legal effect. There is no record of how long the web page was viewed for. This would make searching for legal adult material fraught with the risk of prosecution because of the malicious behaviour of many 'supposedly' adult 'legal' websites and their malicious redirection of clicked links that seemed to link to legal content but actually link to sometimes very illegal content.
Loss of CDs and Theft of laptops holding very sensitive data is of the greatest possible concern in regard to communications data. It is all very well saying it will never happen, until it does, and is splashed all over the press and media. The likelihood is that such data loss or theft WILL occur and there is also the issue of bribery or corruption of individual Police or security agency staff to obtain such data.
One of the biggest problems with holding individuals web browsing history is that it will simply force terrorists, paedophiles/paedophile groups and serious criminals into using encrypted and outside of the UK communications, for instance VPN, Open DNS and DNS Crypt, or encrypted P2P data transfer - making detection 100% impossible. Even just using a non-UK and non-ISP DNS server makes it very expensive to trace a single internet connection, typically costing thousands of pounds.
At least at the moment it is possible with a warrant that criminal internet traffic might be tracked and traced. Forcing such traffic onto difficult to trace routing or worse, impossible to decrypt methods will mean a detection and prevention rate for most criminal activity and many internet crimes of ZERO.
There is also the problem with emails that non-UK based webmail companies will in no way comply with any such legislation and there will be no Police or Intelligence/Security services access to any email records by these companies, with or without a warrant - exactly as at present.
Then there is the undoubted prospect of the US media industry requiring/legally obtaining and using access to such communications data, and resulting in millions of intellectual property infringement law suits of UK citizens by US media giants.
Any such legislation is encompassed with the very highest risks to individual liberty. Once the dog is off its lead who knows who it might attack, where it might get or what might result. It is very much opening a Pandora’s box, not knowing what will happen next.
Put bluntly, this proposal is completely lacking in any intelligence and will almost entirely hinder intelligence gathering by the security services and the Police. It is completely ill-thought out and very badly considered in all respects.
It is appalling that the Home Office and HM Government just try to ‘spin’ this as a very minor change. It is nothing of the sort, it is the hugest infringement and affront to Human Rights, Rights to Privacy and a Private life, and to Individual Liberty.
The Police and the Intelligence/Security services can at present access ALL of the available communications data with a warrant. No doubt the public outcry will be even more considerably greater when it is realized that the necessary records that ISPs, and mobile and landline phone providers and email providers will have to keep will cost very considerably more in phone charges, line rental, and broadband charges.
The thought that they might similarly scan paper mail is horrific as they would immediately obtain content or some content.
The specific wording of not requiring a warrant and not needing to give any reason to examine sometimes very sensitive communications data under the 'pretext' of catching terrorists is fascist in the extreme and totally abhorrent to most law abiding UK citizens who wish for a private life without the threat of unwarranted invasion of privacy by the authorities. What next, councils asking the police (under the pretext of anti-terrorism) to supply councils with communication data about individuals? Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if this nastiest ever legislation were ever to see the light of day.
Once you have legislation that does not have the respect of a large portion of society, it makes a complete mockery of the law, and leads to far less respect for TRULY NEEDED laws, eg against violence to other persons etc.
The 'thought police aspect' is totally disturbing. We do not know what political agendas the Home Office might have nor the duress or undue influence threatened prosecutions might have on any individual to 'make them toe the thought line of the day'. Then some Police chiefs in some areas have other agendas, such as the promotion of gay rights etc. The whole issue is to do with the control of individuals within society by 'unseen' and secret manipulation derived from accrued communications data. If this legislation goes through, Free society is dead in the UK.
As you are aware, there is a very large public petition to stop this legislation. Mass public demonstrations may well ensue if this legislation is not withdrawn (with ensuing risks to social unrest and maintaining public order)
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