"The Authorities" to log every UK phone call, e-mail. fax, IP call, file download /transfer,
for 12 months and keep what they want for ever
In Gormless Gordon's "Government Draft Legislatative Program" or the Alternative Queen's Speech ,Page 52 outlined a proposed Communications Data Bill.
The purpose was yet another measure for the Authorities ,"to extend to the whole of the UK" , to provide "the ability of authorities to carry out their counter-terror, crime prevention and public safety duties and to counter these threats ". which they claim would be undermined if "the legislative framework on access to communications data (was not brought up to date) with changes taking place in the telecommunications industry and the move to using Internet Protocol (IP) core networks".
The main elements of the Bill are:
Modify the procedures for acquiring communications data and allow
this data to be retained;
Transpose EU Directive 2006/24/EC (of 15th March 2006) on the retention of communications data into UK law. (see Para 10 - On 13 July 2005, the Council reaffirmed in its declaration condemning the terrorist attacks on London the need to adopt common measures on the retention of telecommunications data as soon as possible. )
In the Daily Mail Wednesday May 20th 2008 Daniel Bates writes that ,"Massive Big Brother database will track every phone call and email sent in Britain" (which Lord Patel assumed was already in operation) and says (without disclosing a source ) that "Internet service providers and telephone companies would be forced to hand over records to the Home Office, which would keep them on a computer system."
All forms of electronic communication face being monitored, including social networking sites and text messages.The database would also include details of how long individuals spend on the internet.The government would retain the data for 12 months and security services and police could seek court permission to access it in the fight against terrorism
This he explains means that obligation Telecoms firms have had since last October to keep records of phone calls and text messages for 12 months would be extended to all forms of electronic communications. This means incorporating all the Items detailed in Article 5 of the EU Directive 2006/24/EC (a 2 1/2 page detailed list) although the Directive allows for retention periods of from 6 months to 2 years (Article 6) .
A nameless (male) A Home Office spokesman is quoted who claimed that retaining communications information was essential for protecting national security and comically emphasised powers to hold information were subject to strict safeguards.
"Communications data - the who, how, when and where of a communication but not the what (content) of the communication (EU Directive 2006/24/EC Article 5 Para 2 "2. No data revealing the content of the communication may be retained pursuant to this Directive.") - is a crucial tool for protecting national security, preventing and detecting crime and protecting the public."
It is worth noting that Article 6 Para (d) states,"(d) the data, except those that have been accessed and preserved, shall be destroyed at the end of the period of retention." Which is virtually meaningless, the "Authorities " can keep what they want and destroy the rest - how would we ever know ?
Meanwhile Gormless Gorden's Queen's Bill explains ...The draft Bill will then be made available on www.homeoffice.gov.uk. In the meantime, any comments or questions about these proposals should be directed to CommsData@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.
All that the Home Office website has currently, is ..."Communications Data Bill
The Communications Data Bill will ensure that public authorities can continue to gather and use communications data needed to help protect the country from terrorism and stop the violence caused by organised crime (?) ."
Political Quotes are provided by the Daily Mail ..
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "Given ministers' appalling record at maintaining the integrity of databases holding people's sensitive data, this could be more of a threat to our security, than a support."
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said the database was "an Orwellian step too far".
We will see who votes against it.
It is worthwhile noting that Assistant Information Commissioner Jonathan Bamford is quotes as having said : "We are not aware of any justification for the State to hold every UK citizen's phone and internet records.
"We have really doubts that such a measure can be justified, or is proportionate or desirable."
"We have warned before that we are sleepwalking into a surveillance society ... the more data that is collected and stored, the bigger the problem when that data is lost, traded or stolen."
Original images from which Johnny mobile telephone caller abstracted available here
PDATE : The Guradian covers the story and reminds readers that 3 Mn e-mails are sent every day and last year 57 Mn texts were sent.