Monday, 9 November 2009

Time for encryption?

The European Union's Data Retention Directive orders countries to pass laws requiring telecoms companies to retain phone and Internet usage records for between six and 24 months so that they can be used to help solve crime. This was initiated by Tony Blair during his rotating presidency. The citizens of many EU states have protested against this chilling project.

In the UK this is called the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) and is to cost £2billion. Initially the government wanted to store all this data on one huge, central database but they decided against this and decreed that Internet service providers (ISPs) should do this job. There have been protests from ISPs, phone providers and civil liberties' groups on technical, financial and moral grounds.

This programme also included the GCHQ project called Mastering the Internet (MTI) which involves fitting thousands of deep packet inspection probes to monitor the use of VoIP, chat rooms etc

Now there has been a delay and this proposal will not be part of the Queen's speech. See here.

The Tories say they would immediately subject the IMP to a Privacy Impact Assessment (sigh) and it is not mentioned in the Lib-Dems' Freedom Bill.

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