Privacy. A Thing of the Past?

Planned government legislation will see GCHQ given the powers to monitor individuals’ online usage. To do this ISPs would be instructed to install hardware from GCHQ that would allow the government, in real-time, to monitor everyone’s online communications. While a warrant would be needed to access the actual content of such communications (messages, emails, phone calls, etc.), individuals and groups a user interacts with would be easily traceable. Information like phone numbers dialled, time and call duration, and email addresses would be visible, according to a spokesman for the Home Office. The proposed law has shocked human rights activists who fear the amount of power to spy on ordinary people it will give the government.

The director of Liberty UK, Shami Chakrabarti, said that the new legislation would be “more ambitious than anything that has been done before. It is a pretty drastic step in a democracy.” Tory MP, David Davis, also criticised the move, branding the proposed law “an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state”.

Human rights activists… fear the amount of power to spy on ordinary people it will give the government.

The previous government tried to enact a similar law but was defeated by heavy opposition which included many Conservative MPs. So what’s changed? Why in this day and age is this Cold War-type law being considered?

The same spokesman for the Home Office commented on how the law would help the fight against terrorism, giving the Police the intelligence they need. However, Mr Davis pointed out that the new powers would see GCHQ monitoring ordinary people, not just terrorists and criminals.

This law would not be the first in recent months to give the government more power over ISPs. BT and Talk Talk recently lost their appeal over the soon to be introduced legislation that will force them to monitor and notify users engaging in online piracy. Where the line will be drawn between government power and personal privacy is as yet uncertain.

Information and Quotation Sources: BBC, The Independent Online.

2 Comments on “Privacy. A Thing of the Past?”

  1. jon says:

    this is no longer a government its just a dictatorship pretending to be a government with pretend elections that make people think there in control of who is elected when its nothing more than a dictator telling the government what to do and to keep people in control

    • newsoperative says:

      Hi Jon.

      I’d be interested to hear more about why you think we live in a dictatorship. Elections in the UK are widely regarded as free and fair; meaning that whoever is in power won the most seats in a Parliamentary Election. While you may disagree with the legislation the current government are proposing it doesn’t meant that the UK is under dictatorship.

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