“The U.K. government is considering the mass surveillance and retention of all user communications on social-networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo,” says ZDNet UK.
UK home office security minister Vernon Coaker (right) says the EU Data Retention Directive, under which ISPs must store communications data for 12 months, doesn’t go far enough, according to the story.
“Social-networking sites such as MySpace or Bebo aren’t covered by the the EU Data Retention Directive,” Coaker is quoted as telling the House of Commons Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee.
Under the EU Data Retention Directive, from March 15, 2009, all UK ISPs are required to store customer traffic data for a year, says the story, going on »»»
The Interception Modernisation Programme, or IMP, is a government proposal, introduced last year, for legislation to use mass monitoring of traffic data as an antiterrorism tool.
The IMP has two objectives: that the government use deep-packet inspection to monitor the Web communications of all U.K. citizens; and that all of the traffic data relating to those communications are stored in a centralized government database.
The U.K. government has previously said communications interception is “vital” and has hinted that social-networking sites may be put under surveillance. And responding to a question from Liberal Democrat Parliament member Tom Brake, Coaker said all traffic data on social-networking sites and through instant-messaging services may be harvested and stored.
Deep-packet inspection, used by advertising companies such as Phorm for behavioural targeting, is “the second strand of the IMP,” says ZDNet, continuing:
“Opposition to the government’s IMP proposal has been fierce. Cambridge University computer security expert Richard Clayton told ZDNet UK on Wednesday that the government proposal to monitor social-networking traffic was “extremely intrusive.”
“The government wants to collect all of this data on everybody, just in case,” Clayton says in the story. “Suppose you use (an e-mail service based in Pakistan), and you blow up the Houses of Parliament. The government would have to persuade the Pakistani authorities to turn over the logs, which may then turn out only to have been retained for three days.”
Moreover, “To deploy deep-packet inspection equipment isn’t cheap — the word ‘billion’ is appropriate,” he’s quoted as saying. “It took the Home Office the best part of a year to find 3 million pounds for the Police e-Crime Unit. That’s what is wrong with this picture.”
ZDNet UK – U.K. to monitor, store all social-network traffic?, March 18, 2009
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