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UK: Big Brother recording all calls, texts and e-mails

Big Brother database recording all our calls, texts and e-mails will ’ruin British way of life’

Daily Mail
July 16, 2008

Plans for a massive database snooping on the entire population were condemned yesterday as a ‘step too far for the British way of life’.

In an Orwellian move, the Home Office is proposing to detail every phone call, e-mail, text message, internet search and online purchase in the fight against terrorism and other serious crime.

But the privacy watchdog, Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, warned that the public’s traditional freedoms were under grave threat from creeping state surveillance.

Apart from the Government’s inability to hold data securely, he said the proposals raised ‘grave questions’.

‘Do the risks we face provide justification for such a scheme in the first place? Do we want the state to have details of more and more aspects of our private lives?

‘Whatever the benefits, would such a scheme amount to excessive surveillance? Would this be a step too far for the British way of life?’

It is thought the scheme would allow the police or MI5 to access the exact time when a phone call was made, the number dialled, the length of the call and, in the case of mobile phones, the location of the handset to within an accuracy of a few hundred yards.

Similarly for e-mails, it would provide details of when they were sent and who the recipients were. Police recovering a suspect’s computer would then be able to trawl through hard-drive records and recover particular messages. The content of telephone calls could not be recovered unless they were being intercepted at the time.

Mr Thomas’s warnings were backed by privacy campaigners, who claimed such Big Brother powers would give Government agencies unprecedented abilities to trawl through intimate details of ordinary people’s private lives at will.

He used the launch of his annual report to speak out after ministers signalled their intentions in their programme of legislation earlier this year, describing the new Bill as ‘modifying procedures for acquiring communications data’.

There are fears that the data will be shared with foreign governments – such as the Americans demanding personal details of air passengers – accessed by internet hackers or lost by bungling civil servants.

Opponents pointed out that town halls are already using extraordinary surveillance powers under the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to investigate minor issues such as littering, or checking whether parents are abusing school catchment area rules, and they could be given access to almost unthinkable levels of personal data under the new scheme.

Currently police and MI5 can access customer records stored by telephone companies, but only with a warrant to examine individual accounts.

Mr Thomas said: ‘I am absolutely clear that the targeted and duly-authorised interception of the communications of suspects can be invaluable in the fight against terrorism and other serious crime.

‘But there needs to be the fullest public debate about the justification for, and implications of, a specially created database – potentially accessible to a wide range of law enforcement authorities – holding details of everyone’s telephone and internet communications.

’Do we really want the police, security services and other organs of the state to have access to more and more aspects of our private lives?’

Opposition MPs said the Government’s dismal records on safeguarding private data – most notably the loss of the entire child benefit database holding millions of people’s financial details – showed it was incapable of safeguarding such a vast volume of information safely, and the scheme should be dropped immediately.

An estimated 3billion emails are sent in Britain every day and last year 57billion text messages were sent.

The Home Office yesterday defended the need to keep its surveillance powers up to date with changing internet technology, and said full details of the plans would be published this year as part of a new Communications Data Bill.

Officials said the internet was rapidly revolutionising communications and it was vital for surveillance powers to keep up with technology in order to fight serious crime and terrorism.

Read Full Article Here

 

India: NSA to tap data traffic passing through Blackberry devices

Business Line
July 13, 2008

New Delhi, July 12 – In a bid to find a solution to the security concerns around Blackberry services, the National Security Adviser is now supervising a discussion between National Test Research Organisation, under the Home Ministry, Department of Telecom and Canada-based Research In Motion.

The discussions are being held to find a spot on RIM’s network where the data traffic passing through Blackberry could be intercepted by security agencies.

The agencies had earlier rejected any temporary solution to the Blackberry controversy and told the Government that it must make sure that traffic originating and terminating on the device should not travel outside the country without proper monitoring.

DoT was considering deploying certain software that would allow the security agencies to snoop into Blackberry network without having to break into the service codes.

Blackberry handsets are designed by Research In Motion and uses high encryption code, making it impossible for the Indian agencies to monitor data being transmitted by users.

The DoT had earlier asked the company to set up a local server in the country which would allow the security forces to snoop into the network. However, Research In Motion said that it was not possible to give decryption codes or set up a local data centre in the country.

The DoT had earlier asked RIM to give its codes to Indian security agencies that will enable them to monitor the data being transmitted through Blackberry. The key problem was that Indian agencies do not have the required technology to monitor data that has encryption codes higher than 40 bits.

On the issue of setting up a local data centre within the country, RIM had said that Blackberry was designed to perform as a global system independent of geography. “The location of data centres and the customer’s choice of wireless network are irrelevant factors from a security perspective since end-to-end encryption is utilised,” RIM had said.

NY subpoenas blogger id
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/0..er=MYWAY&pagewanted=print

YouTube, Viacom Agree To Anonymize Data
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20..hxV5G7yprV84FDlzM55TmZk24cA

Canadian ISPs Plan Net Censorship
http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/canada_net_censorship.html

Airport scans for illegal downloads on iPods, mobile phones and laptops
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/conn..nected/2008/07/10/nairport110.xml

Army Forms Network Warfare Batallion
http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htiw/articles/20080712.aspx

 


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