UK Drops Plan For Government Internet and Phone Database; Tells ISPs and Operators To Retain The Data Instead

from the shell-game dept

The British government says it has dropped its plans to create a central database "of all phone calls, e-mails and websites visited." Instead, it wants ISPs and phone companies to hold all of the info. A government minister says having all of the information in a central database represented an intrusion of personal privacy, and that having individual firms store it raised fewer concerns. That may be true, but privacy issues still exist; simply storing all the data in different places might mitigate some risk, but it certainly doesn't eliminate it. Meanwhile, the government wants to expand the data that communications companies must retain for 12 months, going beyond phone records and web sites visited. It also wants them to hold on to records of third-party information crossing their networks, including phone use and internet traffic from outside the country. And, to boot, it wants them to organize all of the data to make it easy for authorities to search. Two issues remain: first, again, throwing more and more data into the retention mix won't magically make the country safer, it just makes it harder to find useful data. Second, this seems like little more than a cunning political ploy to replace a pretty reprehensible plan with one that's only slightly less worrisome. The revised plan still raises plenty of issues, but hey, it's not as bad as the original plan, so it must be pretty good, right?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Tor, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 12:34am

    Privacy

    "Smith said that while the new system could record a visit to a social network such as Facebook, it would not record personal and private information such as photos or messages posted to a page."

    So web browsing habits data is not considered private information then? Thanks for making that clear.

    Another interesting question here is what really constitutes a communications company. What's the definition?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 1:05am

    We've been through this before...

    Trying to get the UK Goverment to see sense regarding it's pet IT projects or anti-TERRORRRR campaigns is like trying to teach quantum physics to a chicken

    In my opinion, the only reason they've even backtracked this far is because of the deep doo dah they've got us in with their financial 'management' and an urgent need to save money, probably so they can keep their other scary white elephant (ID Cards) alive

    I'd like to be able to say 'normal service will resume soon' but 2010 seems a long way off and I'm not convinced the conservatives would be any better

    Oh and before this becomes a "you strange Brits - freedom, freedom, America, rah-rah" thread - who do you think they are getting all these disturbing ideas off? cos personally I can't help thinking it's the NSA

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      ijakings, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 5:59am

      Re: We've been through this before...

      Did my subconcious get up and make this post whilst I was sleeping, Almost exactly what I was going to say

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Run Dont Walk, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 1:35am

    Who will pay?

    So are they going to provide funding for ISP's to retain this data, put in place safeguards, people, etc to protect and support their requests.

    Anyone living in the UK should be questioning who is running their government and the direction your country is headed in. We are seeing a real life example of the society depicted in the book "1984" being created in front of us. the society depicted in "V for Vendetta" is looking quite possible. wake up people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Luís Carvalho, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 1:59am

    I can't even find words to say how much horror that text brought me.

    Just some quick questions:

    1-Where and how will sensible data, pertaining a whole country, be stored?
    2-Who will protect it?
    3-Who will protect the citizens from those in #2?
    4-Who will have access rights to it?
    5-Who will have the right to question those rights?
    6-How can it be questioned even?
    7-Can a citizen demmand to "see" it's own records?
    8-What is the guarantee that 12 months will not be "forever minus a day"?
    9-Hackers, anyone thought of that?
    10-Where can I find someone to "erase" my data regularly?

    Better stop here...

    I don't even live in the UK, but if this happens there, soon, it will be everywhere.

    Comeback George Orwell, you are forgiven.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    ulle, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 2:02am

    Gee now the gov gets easy access to the data but the ISPs have to foot the bill, sounds like a smart move to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Warren, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 2:14am

    Good grief, whats happening with this country?! They cant even kepe track of a couple of CD's containing peoples personal information.
    Now they want a database of everyones details, hah that's really going to go well isnt it. How long do you rekaon it'll take for the data to be comprimised?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Ernestas, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 2:42am

    business plan :)

    it wants them to organize all of the data to make it easy for authorities to search
    If goverment will pay for that - it is worth for everybody in UK to became a "tiny ISP" who will be rewarded for storing SPAM :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Overcast, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 6:16am

    Big Brother is watching you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    OKVol, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 6:18am

    Unfunded mandate

    Was this legislation engineered by BT to drive out competition?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 7:33am

    Global Implications

    It also wants them to hold on to records of third-party information crossing their networks...

    Considering the way traffic is routed over the internet, this means that they'll also be recording information of people from outside of Britain who's information just so happens to get routed through there. If this goes through, it sounds to me like it may be time to start blocking internet traffic to Britain just to protect everyone else. Basically, kick Britain off the 'net.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2009 @ 3:51pm

      Re: Global Implications

      Not just that, but there may be political implications - just because a country tracks its own citizens doesn't mean they'll allow some third party to do the same.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    H.K., Apr 28th, 2009 @ 8:50pm

    I suppose this is all in the name of national security? Have the British voted directly or even indirectly for these sorts of actions to take place? If these issues interest you This has several pages on related government/privacy issues in regards to digital security.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Aidantheawesome, Apr 29th, 2009 @ 3:19pm

    1984 anyone?

    Remember, big brother is watching!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    lovingseem, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 10:39pm

    It requires Internet providers

    It requires Internet providers to retain any “record” in their seek more police as crime drops | UK: Landlord fights police plan for CCTV at pub, SMS texts being data mined in France: Man strip DNA details of 1.1m children on database | UK security whitepaper urges

    loving seem
    mls

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This