Friday, July 6, 2012

UK snooping law plans may come into contradiction with EC

The plans of the UK government of increasing the police online surveillance powers under the draft Communications Data Bill (CDB), also known as the Snoopers' Chart, might come into contradiction with the European Commission's position on citizens' rights.

If approved, the Communications Data Bill will place innocent citizens under continuous surveillance having all their communications and online activity monitored, all of the time. The government would store information about who's messaging whom, who's a friend to whom on the Internet or what people are searching for on search engines. Police and HM Revenue and Customs officers would have the power to access this information without a judicial warrant.

According to the information appeared in mass-media, the Home Office had a meeting with the largest electronic communications providers in UK that included discussions on the hardware which companies will have to use to monitor traffic flowing through their systems.

Things get more complicated with the design of the system to identify and store traffic data from the webmail services. Thus, the ISPs might have "to route the data via a government-approved 'black box' which will decrypt the message, separate the content from the 'header data', and pass the latter back to the ISP for storage."

It might be a good time to start using 3rd party smtp services and tools like PGP or GPG.