The Queen's speech unveils UK web monitoring plans

The Queen has just unveiled the Governments plan to monitor all of the UK's web, phone and email data.

The Queen needs no persuasion in signing the bill into law as it is her sovereign obligation, but getting to the Royal Assent stage might be easier than many would hope. The government-written speech is spoken by the Queen to address the upcoming legislative agenda.

In the speech, she said:

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“My government intends to bring forward measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public, subject to scrutiny of draft clauses.”

It’s not often you see a government hedging, but when you do, it does it in style. Addressing two key issues — the European “safeguard” issue, and the “subject to scrutiny” — the speech highlights how controversial and difficult the law-making process will be in this case.

The controversial plan would see every scrap of Web traffic, every email, and Skype and landline phone calls logged with the third intelligence service, GCHQ, charged with protecting the U.K. from cyber threats.

But the bill to law transition could still be riddled with obstacles and difficulties if the Europeans get their way.

British ISPs and landline and mobile companies will be forced to open up their datacenters and allow the real-time analysis of its customers’ Web activity — including social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The data collected would include calls made, when, to whom, from which number, including when a website was visited, for how long, who an email was sent to and where it came from, and when it was sent.

All of this data will be analysed in real-time by GCHQ’s Cheltenham listening station headquarters.

While the contents of the data contained in such traffic will be off-limits to the British spooks, all that is needed to access the contents is a search warrant, either issued by the courts or the Home Secretary.

One part of ZDNets article that I don't agree with:

It puts the U.K. en par with the United States, Russia, and China in how it monitors its citizens’ Web activity.

Since I'm pretty sure they also need a warrant, legally?

Source: ZDNet.


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