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New U.K. plan will allow government access to data of calls, emails and texts


Computer tracking and monitoring is being taken one step further in the U.K., as a new plan expected to come into effect soon will allow the government complete access to a person’s call log, texts and emails, according to The Telegraph. The plan requires phone companies to store the data for a year and give authorities access when necessary.

Even though the government will not be able to read the contents of the texts or emails, they will be able to see when and to whom they were sent. Activity on social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook will also be stored for the first time, according to the media outlet.

This plan came about in an effort to fight against terrorism, claiming that criminals could possibly avoid conventional surveillance with the technology that is available nowadays, the news outlet reports. As expected by many, this idea is seeing quite a bit of opposition from groups with concerns about civil liberties and the security of records. Many believe that hackers would make it their mission to gain this information and use it to their benefit.

“This would be a systematic effort to spy on all of our digital communications,” Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, told the news source. “The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats started their government with a big pledge to roll back the surveillance state. No state in history has been able to gather the level of information proposed – it’s a way of collecting everything about who we talk to just in case something turns up.”

According to Zdnet, the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) is expected to handle the computer monitoring system. However, no official plans have been outlined to the ISPA.

“It is important that proposals to update government’s capabilities to intercept and retain communications data in the new communications environment are proportionate, respect freedom of expression and the privacy of users, and are widely consulted upon in an open and transparent manner,” the ISPA said in a statement on Monday.

It is expected that the new scheme, which will be called the Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP), will be addressed during the Queen’s Speech in May, the media outlet reports.