Government plots new email and web monitoring laws

New UK laws could give intelligence services easy access to your emails, calls and web visits.

Incoming UK legislation could see the government granted on-demand access to your emails, calls and browsing history, the Telegraph reports.

The new law could be revealed during the Queen's Speech next month, and would let the spooks at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) take a sneaky peek at your online activities.

Internet service providers such as BT would be instructed to install special tech that allows the agency to access information at will.

The actual content of your emails or calls wouldn't be revealed without a warrant, but the new law would make it possible for GCHQ to check out the details of your communication, such as who you were talking to and when.

In a statement, the Home Office said ministers were looking to make the new law official "as soon as parliamentary time allows".

"It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism to protect the public," the Home Office said.

"We need to take action to maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes." 

Way back in 2006, the government had plans for a similar law, but it was scrapped in the face of fierce opposition. Privacy bods have spoken out against the new law, with Nick Pickles of the Big Brother Watch campaign likening the legislation to the online surveillance that takes place in China and Iran.

What do you think of the new law? Are monitoring tools like this necessary to keep people safe, or would you rather the government kept its nose out of your online affairs? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or over on our Facebook wall.

Tags:
Software
About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

Hot on CNET

The Next Big Thing

Consoles go wide and far beyond gaming with power and realism.