British citizens will soon have their personal computers scrutinized by the police at any given time under new plans on electronic surveillance from the European Union council of ministers. According to The Times, police will not need a warrant to do so either and to add further fury, Ministers are also drawing up plans to allow police across the EU to collect information from computers in Britain. Material gathered includes all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging ‘chats’.
Hacking has been quietly adopted by police across Britain, saying it is vital for tracking cyber-criminals and paedophiles and is used sparingly but civil liberties groups are very concerned.
“These are very intrusive powers, as intrusive as someone busting down your door and coming into your home. The public will want this to be controlled by new legislation and judicial authorisation. Without those safeguards it’’s a devastating blow to any notion of personal privacy,” the paper quoted Shami Chakrabati, Director of Liberty, as saying.
In this day and age, ‘Freedom’ is a very difficult ideal to define. Freedom in the UK is of course very different to what someones definition is in China. However, the fact that your personal computer, probably one of the most personal items in ones home, can be subjected to search at any given time without the requirement of warrant…crosses the line, irrespective of nation or culture.