We live in a world full of terror. To protect its people from this terror, the UK wants to store all of its citizens personal data – phone calls, text messages, online browsing history – to combat whatever terror is threatening them next.
The Telegraph is reporting that the UK is cooking up a new anti-terror plan. The plan would require land line, mobile phone and broadband providers to store all of its users information, including the details of every phone call and text message, in a massive database that can be accessed by authorities at any time.
To relieve any concerned citizen who may feel that this is a massive infringement of their privacy, the plan explicitly states that it would not record the contents of the calls or text messages. It would just record who you made those calls to.
For those who think that recording who you call or text isn’t that bad, wait till you hear this. The government also wants to store who you send messages to on Facebook, Twitter and in online video games.
The government is reportedly already in talks with providers over the proposed plan with an announcement planned for March.
The plan is being spearheaded by MI5, the UK’s equivalent of the FBI, and MI6, the UK’s equivalent of the CIA.
At least this plan holds some things in common with other plans that sought to store users’ records in massive databases. The UK doesn’t want to pony up the funds to actually fund such a program. They want the companies in question to pay for and support these massive databases that would cost them and taxpayers a couple million a year.
Laughably, the Labour party drew up plans for a similar database that would be run and paid for by the government, but dropped them in favor of the current plan that would make the companies and taxpayers pay for it.
The government wants the ability to track suspected individuals in real time with their cell phones. They want to be able to track where they are and who they called when making a phone call. This would allow the authorities to track people down based on their cell phone usage.
The original plan, as mentioned above, was scrapped due to little public support. The current plan seems to be moving along without much public input to avoid the fate of the last proposed security plan.
The current plan is supposedly called the Communications Capabilities Development Programme and the government hopes to propose the legislation during the Queen’s Speech in May.
The government feels they need this plan to combat terrorists who can circumvent modern tracking technology. This is especially crucial to them as they feel the London Olympics this year faces a major terror threat.
Like with any major revision to privacy and tracking like this, the government needs to keep the people updated on any proposed changes. Creating plans like this in the dark without any public support will only come back to bite you in the end. Just look at ACTA and the storm that has created.