An Internet service group has revealed that the UK government is reviving a plan to create a nationwide electronic surveillance network that, in effect, will give authorities a view of every message you will ever send electronically or via the Internet.
The UK Internet Service Providers’ Association has told the Associated Press in London that the government is apparently revising a plan proposed in 2008 for the creation of a massive government database for all of the country’s email and phone traffic.
The Internet group’s James Blessing said he learned of the plan in a recent briefing he attended. Blessing revealed that plan discussions took place in the Home Office briefing, which itself has declined to comment on the report beyond saying that Parliament should first announce the proposal.
No timetable for the implementation of the plan was disclosed, but a Home Office spokesman has claimed that the surveillance program—if approved—would not entail any government prying into the contents of email messages of phone conversations.
In a colorful if cryptic comment, the government spokesman said the planned new system merely wants to determine the “who, where, what and when” of all Internet and phone messaging events.
Observers note that the government already has access to a wealth of communication information, and could request for more data in the course of an investigation.
The worry however is that a standard monitoring system aimed at capturing every phone call, every email and every tweet would be a formidable operation indeed, even for the government.