UK government's plan to monitor entire internet traffic sparks outrage
London, Feb 7: Britain's spy agencies are looking to fit black box surveillance devices across the country's entire communications networks to supervise internet use, however, this proposed plan has sparked outrage among privacy campaigners, who claim it would give them unprecedented surveillance powers.
A report by an influential committee of MPs has revealed how spy agencies are keen to implement a nationwide surveillance regime aimed at logging nearly everything Britons do and say online, the Daily Mail reports.
The spy network will rely on a technology known as Deep Packet Inspection to log data from communications ranging from online services like Facebook and Twitter, Skype calls with family members and visits to pornographic websites, it reported.
The report by Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, published on Tuesday, gives UK intelligence agencies' perspective on the government's draft Communications Data Bill, which is intended to update surveillance powers.
The government argues that swift access to communications data is vital to the fight against terrorism and other high-level crime, but it has been delayed after the Liberal Democrats dropped support for the bill, the paper added.
MI5 chief Jonathan Evans told the committee access to communications data of one sort or another is very important indeed, adding its part of the backbone of the way in which they would approach investigations.
Evans added he thinks he would be accurate in saying there are no significant investigations that we undertake across the service that don't use communications data because of its ability to tell you the who and the when and the where of your target's activities.
The Bill has encountered stiff opposition, but authorities have been at pains to stress that they're not seeking free access to the content of emails or recordings of phone calls, the paper said.
Critics have said that in effect there is no way to consistently separate such communications data from the content of messages and calls, and that giving easy access to the former would also open the way to access of the latter, it further added.
Privacy campaigners also challenged the government over how it could criticise totalitarian regimes overseas that may be using similar systems to crack down on dissent, it concluded.