Home Secretary Theresa May launched the draft Communications Data Bill yesterday with an interview on the Radio 4 Today programme. She has also written a foreword to the Bill arguing why we need it.
I have already written arguments against why we should implement this act. All of my previous points remain and I will restate the two most important aspects here.
- Firstly what is being proposed represents a serious threat to our privacy as a nation. The government wants to collect personal information about our private web browsing, phoning, email, tweeting, Facebook and all other internet related communications. They then want to store this information “securely” for one year so that it can be accessed buy anyone granted permission by senior police officers.
I refer you to last week’s LinkedIn password debacle where 6.5 million passwords being securely held on a server were stolen and published on a Russian website. The next time this could be details of websites you visit. It would happen if this Bill moved into law. Guaranteed.
- Secondly the proposed measures will not catch those who the police et al are trying to catch. If you are hell bent on crime you will easily find ways of going undetected on the web.
Here I refer you to the recent court orders for ISPs to block access to Pirate Bay. One of my most visited blog posts this year and certainly high up on the list of search terms covers how to bypass these blocks. The same will be true with criminals looking for anonymity.
I’ve been thinking of whether there is a middle ground here where ISPs collect data on specified targets rather than everyone and subject to court orders. This could work though opponents will argue that once the capability has been put in place it will be abused. My second point above would also apply so the effort might be futile and money spent wasted (it would probably cost almost the same as if we were collecting all the data).
On balance we all need to oppose this Bill. Email your MP with a link to this post.