UK surveillance plan to go ahead

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News
9 November 2009

The Home Office says it will push ahead with plans to ask communications firms to monitor all internet use.

Ministers confirmed their intention despite concerns and opposition from some in the industry.

The proposals include asking firms to retain information on how people use social networks such as Facebook.

Some 40% of respondents to the Home Office’s consultation opposed the plans – but ministers say communication interception needs to be updated.

Both the police and secret security services have legal powers in the UK to intercept communications in the interests of combating crime or threats to national security.

But the rules largely focus on communications over telephones and do not cover the whole range of internet communications now being used.

The Home Office says it wants to change the law to compel communication service providers (CSPs) to collect and retain records of communications from a wider range of internet sources, from social networks through to chatrooms and unorthodox methods, such as within online games.

Ministers say that they do not want to create a single government-owned database and only intend to ask CSPs to hold a record of a contact, rather than the actual contents of what was said.

This article continues at BBC News.

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