Following strong criticism from some MPs, Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he will take measures to redraft a bill which would lead to closer monitoring of Internet use.
Nick Clegg was among a host of MPs who slammed plans to give police and intelligence services the power to monitor the entire Country’s emails and Internet use in the draft Communications Data Bill.
The deputy prime minister had said previously that he would block the bill in its current form in favour of a bill that kept a more favourable balance between security and liberty.
However, Home Secretary Theresa May has warned that critics of the bill are simply, “putting politics before people’s lives”.
A report from the Joint Committee on the draft Communications Bill accepted that the new laws were needed, but changes had to made to the bill in its current form.
The report stated that at present the bill paid ‘insufficient attention to the duty to respect the right to privacy,’ and that it went, ‘much further than it need or should for the purpose of providing necessary and justifiable official access to communications data’.
Under the proposed bill, Internet providers, under orders from the Government, would have to store details of all online communication in the UK for a year, this would include everything including the location the communication was sent, both originator and recipient of the message, and the time and duration of the communication.
With many firms depending on trust between them and their clients or customers to keep data safe and private, a fear amongst some people within the Internet marketing community is that the intrusions of privacy the bill would potentially allow, would put a lot of people off using some services.
The Internet providers would also have to keep records of users web browsing history as well as details of messages sent on social media platforms such as Facebook, webmail, calls made over the Internet and other items such as emails.
Police would not have to gain permission to have access to the files, but would need a warrant if they actually wanted to read the content of the messages.
In total four bodies would have access to the information, the police, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, the intelligence agencies and also HM Revenue and Customs.
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