Government plans to intercept Internet communications and store details of “traffic data” are reportedly back on the cards.
These plans – called the “Intercept Modernisation Programme” – were shelved early last year after campaigning from privacy campaigners including ORG. They are legally suspect and highly expensive.
They were signalled in a couple of lines in last week’s National Security Strategy:
We will introduce a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications within the appropriate legal framework.
This programme is required to keep up with changing technology and to maintain capabilities that are vital to the work these agencies do to protect the public.
This is the same language and justification that Jacqui Smith, in last Labour government, used to justify IMP.
It is very surprising that the coalition, having stated quite plainly that they intended to roll back the “database state”, appears to be conceding grounds to Sir Humphrey’s spooks in exactly the same manner as ministers in the last government.
The coalition stated:
We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason.
Now they appear to be proposing storing many more records of all our online communications in a blanket manner. Please sign our petition against this proposal.