Is The UK Really Looking To Spy On All Browsing Habits, Emails And Phone Calls?

from the seems-a-bit-extreme dept

There's not much in the way of detail, and our UK readers have pointed out in the past that The Times Online is hardly the most reputable of newspapers in the UK, but it's reporting that the UK government is considering spending £12 billion on a system to spy on the internet browsing histories, emails and phone calls of everyone in the UK. That seems almost too ridiculous to be true, so consider us to be skeptical that this is actually what's happening -- but we'll mention it here with the link back to the source to see if some of our readers can fill us in on the details (or lack of details, as the case may be).
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Filed Under: eavesdropping, spying, tapping, uk

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  1. identicon
    Joseph Young, 6 Oct 2008 @ 12:42pm


    The basis of the story is certainly correct. If you want more details and links to other publications that might meet with more approval from the Techdirt readers, you can look at the Intercept Modernisation page on The Open Rights Group’s wiki.

    The Times’ article is new in giving a much higher total financial cost and the names of two network providers. The figure of £12 billion may not be correct and is an order of magnitude higher than previous figures I’ve seen. However, given the spiralling costs of the National ID Card and Database, it may not be as far out as it currently appears. Also, it’s not clear how many years of costs this represents.

    If you were to just guess at one fixed-line and one network provider, you’d go with BT and Vodafone. It would be logical to start with the largest providers that are not owned by foreign companies.

    Picking up on Mike Allen’s comment about email signatures, it should be remembered that it’s not the content that is to be stored. It will be one complete, centralised database of web hosts accessed, who has emailed whom, who has telephoned whom, over the past two years. So, slightly different to the TOM-Skype database. That also records content, but doesn’t include every communication.

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