Tuesday, May 20, 2008

THE BRITISH POLICE STATE: PLANS TO KEEP EMAILS, INTERNET USE, AND PHONE CALLS ON FILE

NEW SCIENTIST The UK government is considering a massive database to store every person's emails, phone calls, text messages and internet use. The plan was suggested as a tool to help security forces tackling crime and terrorism. At the moment, records of phone calls and text messages are kept for up to 12 months by telecoms companies, in compliance with a European Union anti-terrorism directive.

But a new proposal by the UK Home Office would see internet service providers and telecoms companies handing over records containing billions of emails as well as Internet usage and voice-over-Internet calls, media reports said on Tuesday.

Police and security services would only be granted access to the information after seeking permission from the courts. The UK was this year labeled an "endemic surveillance society" by a study of privacy protections worldwide. . .

Phone calls would not be recorded in full, but the phone numbers involved and the duration of each call would be logged.

In 2006, the US National Security Agency was found to be secretly keeping billions of such records. Experts say such records can reveal detailed information about callers' lives, but that such analysis is unproven as a way to reliably track and catch criminals.

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