All Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will by law keep information about every e-mail sent or received in the UK for a year.
As part of a European Commission directive, from March of this year, the government will pay the ISPs more than £25m to ensure everything runs smoothly. The Home Office insists the data, which does not include e-mails’ content, is vital for crime/terror inquiries and will be available to any public body which makes a lawful request.
Speaking to the BBC, The Earl of Northesk, a Conservative peer on the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, said it meant anyone’s movements could be traced 24 hours a day. He told the broadcaster: “This degree of storage is equivalent to having access to every second, every minute, every hour of your life. People have to worry about the scale, the virtuality of your life being exposed to round about 500 public authorities.
The Earl continues, “Under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, privacy is a fundamental right… it is important to protect the principle of privacy because once you’ve lost it it’s very difficult to recover.” Difficult, indeed.
This comes after news we posted earlier this week about UK Police being legally allowed to hack into users computers without a warrant. Both being EU directives, these laws are likely to not focus exclusively on the UK but the EU community as a whole – none of us are safe. According to the BBC, reports have also suggested the government has even bigger plans to track our data. The possibility of one central database, gathering details on every text sent, e-mail sent, phone call made and website visited are not out of the question.