Thursday, May 10, 2012

'Snooper's charter' web spying Bill announced

The Queen has formally announced plans to greatly increase surveillance of the internet by intelligence agencies and the police, in plans that are being labelled a “snooper’s charter” by civil liberties groups.

She said the government would introduce “measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public”.

The plans were “subject to scrutiny of draft clauses”, the Queen added, caveat understood to have been inserted in her speech at the insistence of Libs Dems. They are concerned by the impact the Communications Data Bill will have on individual freedom and privacy, and feared detailed debate would be steamrollered in Parliament.

The Government did not reveal any technical details about its plans, which are designed to make it easier to discover who has contact whom, when and where, via internet services such as Facebook, Gmail and Skype. But a document released alongside the Queen’s Speech makes it clear that internet and mobile providers will be expected to intercept and store the relevant data for 12 months.

The Bill will establish “an updated framework for the collection and retention of communications data by communication service providers”, the document said. Read More