Internet activities “to be monitored” in UK under new laws
The government of UK will be able to observe and control the calls, texts, emails and websites visits of every person in the country under new legislation soon. Internet companies will be directed to install special hardware to give the Government
Communications Headquarters access to any phone call, email or text message on demand in real time. The plans will be presented next month. The last attempt to introduce a similar law failed after huge opposition in 2006. A new law may be announced in May in Queen’s speech. The Government Communications Headquarters will not be allowed to monitor the contents of messages, calls or email without a warrant. But GCHQ will be able to see which websites a person had visited and who an individual had contacted with, for how long and how often. However, ministers in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government believe that it is necessary for police and security services to have access to such communications data to solve the problem of terrorism and to protect the public. Civil liberties have already criticized the plan. Even though this plan would be introduced in the Queen’s Speech, it would still have to make it through in Parliament of UK. The director of the civil rights group Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, reminded that the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats both had opposed the plan when they were in opposition in 2006. The director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group, Nick Pickles, said that this step is unprecedented and will attack privacy online, but will add to internet business significant costs.