UK government pushes forward with state spying on ISPs

The governments UK Home Office has confirmed its intention to proceed with their controversial Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP). This will see all YOUR email / instant messaging / social networking communication accesses and website visits (not content though) stored for a period of one year. That is despite its own consultation showing support from just 26% of respondents, with 50% being opposed.

The system, which will require broadband ISPs to log all the data, is expected to cost a staggering £2bn over a 10-year period. Most bizarre of all is that it will allow over 650 public bodies access to the information (NHS, Local Councils, Financial Services Authority, Prison Governors, The Post Office etc.) and without needing the permission of a judge or magistrate.

Consultation Conclusion by the Home Office

The Government welcomes the recognition from a majority of respondents of the importance of communications data in protecting the public and that it is necessary to respond to rapidly changing technology in order to maintain this capability. It acknowledges that to improve confidence and trust in the use of communications data, and to demonstrate necessity and proportionality, it needs to continue to explain the importance of communications data, and the impact any loss of capability would have.

The Government will continue to develop the approach it proposed in the consultation document with a view to bringing forward the necessary legislation. In particular, it agrees with the significant view amongst respondents on the importance of safeguards and will ensure that the same strict safeguards that apply today [ED: Hehe] will continue to minimise the potential for abuse and to ensure the safety and security of communications data under any new proposals. This view is strongly supported by public authorities that use communications data on behalf of the public.

The Government will also continue to work closely with communications service providers to ensure that any additional requirements will be feasible and reasonable, and to minimise, as far as possible, any impact on industry.

Personally we don't believe that monitoring the private personal activity of ordinary law-abiding citizens is the proper way to behave. It could also encourage the profiling of innocent people or even be abused for commercial/political gain, though it's claimed that "existing safeguards" should prevent this (Consultation Responses .PDF).

It's worth pointing out that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), Liberal Democrat Party and the Conservative Party (Conservative Party to Clamp Down on UK ISP Snooping Database) are also strongly opposed to much of the governments plan.

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