Sunday, 27 December 2009

Haven't we been here before?

The government's consultation document regarding its postponed Intercept Modernisation Programme (IMP) has been likened to East Germany's surveillance system under the Stasi, see here, and here. This comment was made by a spokesman from T-Mobile:

"It would be extremely ironic if we at T-Mobile (UK) Ltd had to acquire the surveillance functionality envisaged by the Consultation Document at the same time that our parent company, headquartered in Germany, was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the demise of the equivalent systems established by the Stasi in the federal states of the former East Germany."

Every UK mobile network has serious objections to plans to intercept and store details of every communication via the internet, variously attacking IMP's technical feasibility, its legality, its impact on customer privacy and its opaque £2bn cost estimate.

Since October 2007, telecoms companies have been obliged to keep records for a year under the EU Data Retention Directive. Under the new legislation, they will also be required to organise it better – for example, by grouping calls made by the same person. They will also be compelled to intercept details of when and where each of their customers use services such as Facebook and Skype, as well as whom they contact. Hundreds of public bodies and quangos may also be able to obtain information from the system.

In addition to this one legal expert has stated that-

The Digital Economy Bill could give the Government the power to control the internet access of UK citizens by ministerial order, bypassing Parliament and without an adequate right of appeal.

The Home Office tells us that all this is to protect us from crime and terrorism! I'm sure the Stasi said the same.

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