After opposing a Labour Party Big Brother style law, which would allow government spooks to monitor email, the ruling Coalition of Lib Dems and Tories in the UK are trying to bring one in which is even worse.
Under the new laws, Cameron’s government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK.
Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications on demand, in real time, so that they know exactly what you are saying and doing.
Of course, they claim that it is all about tackling crime and terrorism. Indeed, the only ghost they have not invoked in defence of this daft scheme is “we need to protect children from paedophiles”.
Apparenlty, they think that 24/7 monitoring of every citizen is something that they should be able to slip past the great unwashed, who will hail it as a great idea.
The plan is in trouble already. Tory MP David Davis called it “an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people”.
He told the BBC that everything will have to be recorded for two years and the government will be able to get at it with no “by your leave from anybody”.
The new law is set to be announced in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech in May. It does not allow allow GCHQ to access the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant.
All it would do is allow the spooks to identify who an individual or group is in contact with, how often and for how long. They would also know your favourite porn sites.
The Home Office said action was needed to “maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes”. Apparently, we all need to be spied on now that we have all got computers.
Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group, said the law would see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran.
As you might expect, the ISPs are not happy about it. An industry official has warned it would be “expensive, intrusive and a nightmare to run legally”.
How long ago it has been since the days when the shadow home secretary at the time, Chris Grayling, said the Labour government had “built a culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter terrorism and serious crime”. Even then, Labour pulled the idea because it thought it would upset too many people.
Still, it might have gone ahead with it had it known Chris Huhne, then the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, who at the time said “a careful balance” would have to be struck “between investigative powers and the right to privacy”, would back the scheme.