Thursday, 24 December 2009
State to 'spy' on every phone call, email and web search
All telecoms companies and internet service providers will be required by law to keep a record of every customer’s personal communications, showing who they have contacted, when and where, as well as the websites they have visited.
Despite widespread opposition to the increasing amount of surveillance in Britain, 653 public bodies will be given access to the information, including police, local councils, the Financial Services Authority, the ambulance service, fire authorities and even prison governors.
They will not require the permission of a judge or a magistrate to obtain the information, but simply the authorisation of a senior police officer or the equivalent of a deputy head of department at a local authority.
Ministers had originally wanted to store the information on a single government-run database, but chose not to because of privacy concerns.
However the Government announced yesterday it was pressing ahead with privately held “Big Brother” databases that opposition leaders said amounted to “state-spying” and a form of “covert surveillance” on the public.
It is doing so despite its own consultation showing that it has little public support.
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