Monday, April 6, 2009

Internet monitoring starts today in the UK

Net firms start storing user data Details of user e-mails and net phone calls will be stored by internet service providers (ISPs) from Monday under an EU directive. (link via BBC News) Henry Porter has written a scathing piece in the Guardian about this sinister plan: Using Europe to erode our privacy An EU directive compelling ISPs to retain information on individuals has been brought in without a debate in parliament (excerpt): Today, an EU directive comes into force which will compel all internet service providers to retain information from all emails and website visits. Data from phone calls and text messages will also be stored and made available to the government, its agencies and local authorities. Having seen how local officials have abused anti-terrorist laws, it's not hard to imagine the damage to privacy that will ensure. These powers were brought in by a statutory instrument and so were not debated by either house. The accepted view is that the Home Office now bypasses parliament by lobbying Europe directly in the knowledge that the measures they desire will go undebated and unscrutinised, then be smuggled into British law as a European directive. It is difficult to think of anything that makes the House of Commons look more feckless or more redundant. I hate all this surveillance in the name of security. What are your thoughts? Do you feel safer knowing that all emails and data from phone calls and text messages will be stored and made available to the government, its agencies and local authorities? Or do you think (as I do) this is a step too far and that this invasion of our privacy is a dangerous assault on our personal freedom? And the way this EU directive was brought into power without being debated in parliament, does rather make a mockery of the House of Commons, doesn't it? Related post from my blog: Gov't plans 'Big Brother' database for phones & e-mails in UK

8 comments:

  1. We're sleep-walking into Orwell's world of Big Brother and no-one seems willing to do anything about it.

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  2. Sadly, I have to agree Jenny.

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  3. I think it's frightening. Our right to privacy is disappearing at a rapid pace.

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  4. As you know I agree with you wholeheartedly on this subject!
    The credibility of MPs is now at rock bottom, and as for the EU...!
    It really is a sad reflection of the world we now live in. xx

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  5. Indeed, I doubt anyone has any respect for MPs anymore what with so many of them claiming expenses for "second" homes and even adult movies on the Home Secretary Jacquie Smith's expenses sheet. As you quite rightly say, Flighty, the credibility of MPs is now at rock bottom. And I'm sure most people have serious doubts now about the purpose of parliament if it can simply be bypassed for the EU instead.

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  6. Melissa at Smitten by Britain, it is very frightening for those of us living in the UK. Fortunately for you, living in the USA, your right to privacy hasn't been infringed on so blatantly - at least not yet.

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  7. It's very interesting being a US native living in the UK. Correct me if I'm wrong but I can't imagine people would let changes like this go through so quietly in the States. At the very least, Jon Stewart would make a row :)

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  8. Meg, I think at the very least a scheme such as this one from the EU - compelling ISPs to retain information on individuals - would not get through so easily in the USA. For one thing the USA doesn't take orders from the EU (thankfully!) and I think it would have to be proposed as a bill in Congress and then be put to a vote. And there would be an almighty fuss by Americans. And as you point out, "at the very least, Jon Stewart would make a row" - for sure!

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