Government to monitor email and web use of EVERYONE in Britain
Apr 2 2012
NEW ‘Big Brother’-style laws will let the Government monitor the calls, emails, texts and website use of everybody in Britain.
Internet firms will be forced to give the Government’s intelligence agency GCHQ access to anyone’s communications.
The Home Office said it will strike a major blow against terrorism
but civil liberty groups and others have heavily criticised the move.
Tory MP David Davis branded it “an unnecessary extension of the ability of the State to snoop on ordinary people”.
Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group,
called the move “an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the
same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran”.
And Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: “It is a pretty drastic step in what is supposed to be a democracy.”
Attempts by the last Labour government to take similar steps failed after huge opposition, including from the Tories.
The new law, likely to be announced in the Queen’s Speech in May
would not allow GCHQ unprecedented access without a warrant. But
intelligence officers would be allowed to examine material if someone
came under suspicion.
In a statement, the Home Office said it was needed “to maintain the
continued availability of communications data as technology changes”.
It added: “It is vital police and security services can obtain
communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious
crime and terrorism.”
But Mr Davis, the former shadow Home Secretary, said the government would be able to “eavesdrop on vast numbers of people”.
He added: “This is not focusing on terrorists or criminals, it’s absolutely everybody’s emails, phone calls and web access.”
Any new announcement would have to be passed in Parliament and could
face strong opposition from the Commons and the House of Lords.
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