Friday, 9 January 2009

Oh Joy!

So we in the UK have to approve one of the most intrusive laws we've ever seen as a result of the EU telling us we must do so.

From March, ISPs will have to keep data about emails sent and received in the UK for a year in an EU-wide bid to tackle terrorism.

They would have to be able to provide the timing and number of communications from individuals, but not their content.

It follows a ruling last October that telecoms companies should keep records of phone calls and text messages for 12 months

About 57 billion text messages were sent in Britain last year, while an estimated three billion emails are sent every day.

Parliament approved the powers, described as a vital tool against terrorism, last July under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

The law is being implemented as part an EC directive, and the Government will reportedly have to pay the ISPs more than £25 million to ensure it is obeyed.

The whole idea is simply abhorrent under our system of law. We haven't, historically, allowed the State to take such powers for our basic belief is that yes, there are indeed things that we define as crimes but everything else is not just legal to do but our right to do if we should so wish.

It's simply no business of the government who we email or text. Only if we are charged with a crime can such records be accessed: that's how we've historically done things. That isn't, unfortunately, how it has historically been on the Continent. And we seem to be importing the worst parts of the continental relationship between the citizen and the State rather than exporting our own much better system.

Time we leace before that uniquely British system of freedom and liberty is entirely destroyed.


Vindico said...

Tim, as I posted here (, since small ISPs will not be included all the terrorists will just use a small ISP which is not on the list!

brundlefly said...

Something for Bruce Schneier's doghouse I think. A security measure that costs lots and intrudes on our privacy and can be circumvented.