UK: A Plan of Holistic Surveillance over Domestic Communications

Theresa May, UK Home Secretary, unveiled a rather ambitious plan of government in a signed article published on Sun on June 14, 2012, which stated a complete extension of correspondence surveillance scope to make the particular section of government able to minute down each inshore E-mail in England, each talk on the phone and each cellular phone message.


The debate over the plan has intensified although Theresa stressed that the purpose of the plan was to avail the police and other sections clues more easily while fighting crimes and terrorism instead of “snooping”, and the related section can not survey any email or wiretap any a talk on the phone before acquiring special permission. In a statement to the Parliament earlier, Theresa has admitted that the plan will trigger some issues regarding personal privacy, but there should be a balance between the law and the national security.


Now the plan has already formed a proposal of 118 pages but has not yet been formally delivered for a Parliament review. This time the government extremely and rarely has handed it over to the Houses of Parliament and several committees for discussions first, including the Joint Intelligence Committee.


Once the proposal is approved, the related law will force all communication service operators to help government collect clients’ correspondences, which include emails, microblog comments, online phone conversations, file transfers, conventional phone call conversations, mobile texts and real-time chats. The proposal also requires the operators to record the IP address of computer, information of client-end hardware as well as names and addresses during the collection of these contents. Furthermore, some conventional communication methods will have the photocopy, e.g. the address on the envelope will be copied once it is in the postal system. All the information will be preserved “by law” for one year or even longer period.


Quite a number of British say that their privacy will be violated once the proposal is approved. According to some other critical comments, the free expression of social opinions will be restrained if the law in question is in force one day. 

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