UK government set to rush through emergency surveillance legislation

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The UK government is looking to reinforce powers of security services to require internet and phone providers to maintain records of customer email and calls. Emergency laws are to be introduced into the Commons next Monday, following private talks and gaining support of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats on the basis that there will be new board to oversee the functioning of new powers. The move is an effort to continue protecting UK citizens from external threats.

Transparency reports will be released on an annual basis confirming just how frequently police and security services are using the legislation. Expiring in 2016, the new laws will require fresh legislation post-general election. It's reported that there will be no powers to look at the content of phone calls, but location, date and phone numbers in question will be accessible. UK prime minister, David Cameron, recently explained why the emergency powers were being pushed through.

"It is the first duty of government to protect our national security and to act quickly when that security is compromised. As events in Iraq and Syria demonstrate, now is not the time to be scaling back on our ability to keep our people safe. The ability to access information about communications and intercept the communications of dangerous individuals is essential to fight the threat from criminals and terrorists targeting the UK."

It's noted that a recent European court of justice ruling in April concluded that current laws invaded individual privacy, thus the UK government has taken action to ensure records are kept should investigations be started, requiring access to data retained by providers. The court ruling affected regulations requiring businesses to hold said date for up to 12 months.

What are your thoughts on the new legislation to reinforce surveillance?

Source: The Guardian


Reader comments

UK government set to rush through emergency surveillance legislation


common.. they cant catch criminals without knowing which part of the polulation was talking to which part of the polulation and what they said  for 24 month on everyone in the country. I think the EU should consider banning the UK from everything EU related. They dont really like and adapt the EU anyways

Except that they don't seem to catch anything. Does it make sense they help arm/train groups like ISIS either directly or indirectly and then argue they need see what we read and say or check our assholes because ISIS is coming to get us? What a joke. I can't believe how complacent people are over the whole thing, let alone the rest of the garbage they're doing

But both Ireland and Great Britain, and all the little islands form the British Isles, and so British can still apply (geographically speaking) ;)

But the term "British Isles", a name derived from the largest island, Great Britain, is disputed, and controversial in Ireland which is certainly not "British" either politically or geographically.

Northern Irish want to class themselves as English that's there choice and there's alone what you or anyone else has to say is irrelevant don't ya think

Wales and Northern Ireland are part of the same political union, and the opinions of UK citizens on the island of Great Britain on the matter are as relevant as anyone's in Northern Ireland.

"Support from Liberal Democrats" - Lol, that party is dead, they came 5th in the last national election. And Labour also aren't in power.

The Lib Dems are still part of the coalition UK government, and Labour are the official opposition, so the support of both is notable.

The worrying thing is that Wallace and his party agree also! Even though this legislation will have a "sunset" clause, and dissipate in 2016, it's highly likely the next government will continue it.

Suppose it's only a matter of time before vpns are regulated hard.

Airstrip one is ready.

I suppose increased surveillance is pretty much inevitable, although one would hope that we are many years away from an Orwellian police state.

I would rather they checked my phone than get me or my loved ones killed by some stupid terrorist. Any day. That's unfortunately the world we are living in....

Except of 9/11 I cannot recall anything related to terrorists except of some mass shootings from stupid americans or some guy in norway. guess the mass surveillance caught them all before something happened, right

What's your point? I'm just highlighting terrorist attacks to someone who couldn't recall any. I don't support this new law. I want the UK to split up so Westminster law no longer applies in my country.

Not sure on his point, but this blanket monitoring could be abused by governments who seed out missinformation that a blanket surveillance system sucks in and then could be used to justify policy.  E.g. have fake agents in a foreign country 'talking/emailing' about  WMDs etc. that could then be used to justify actions.

Yes, that conspiracy/movie stuff, but 'lies' could be made justifable more easily with global monitoring.



Freedom is just illusion, my friend. Banks, big corporation, society, religion, and yes, government always tell us what we should do, what we shouldn't di and use us for their benefit.

You were more likely to die falling off a ladder than in a terrorist attack. PRE-9/11. Before governments started taking power.

The US had their secret phone monitoring system in place before the Boston bombing. They couldn't catch a couple foreign nationals who were even advised as dangerous by RUSSIA before the attacks for their overseas connections to terrorists.

So what good is this? Who says A - it's effective and B - it won't be abused down the road by some other leader?

Agreed.  There's no evidence that any monitoring like this actually prevents crimes that were not already detected using conventional (human) intel initially.  And if you get to the point of having known targets, sure, monitor the email of those people, after a court order.  Blanket laws that spy on everyone are what I have an issue with...

Any terrorist is going to use encrypted tools to chat/email.  So monitoring your phone is not going to help anyone in the slightest.  If you think by sucking up every bit of email in the world into a computer is going to do anything other than waste a lot of money, think again.  It takes massive $ to do that with currently no gain but a large potential for abuse.

Laws already exist for the authorities to monitor anyone they have good reason to monitor.  That is what the courts do daily.  Wiretap laws etc.  This is a violation of rights which is what the EU decided when they revoked the powers - read what this is really about...

Yes surely sacrificing just a little bit of freedom in return for some promised security is okay?

Me personally I'm tired of being told the government want to spend billions of pounds more because some beardy whacko's are going to be invited back into the country.

Android is compliant from 1.0 version, all user emails, sms, phone calls, photos etc are well stored on google servers ready to be sold.

LOL - its crazy situation really, nearly a trillion pounds in debt, stupidly low interest rates and people thinking that nothing will change or life will improve.  As soon as those interest rates start rocketing up there will be massive dissent, probably why they want to implement systems of surveillance and control before that happens.  The days of FIAT currencies are coming to an end lol.

Anyway criminal can turn off there phone when they do a crime or something suspicious and use the old fashions CB, since they know that !!!

We have to say, terrorists have won a great victory against democracy. They're forcing us to dismantle it. If democracy stands any chance of winning we need to stop this and soon. I would rather die for democracy than live in the rapidly on-coming autocracy. Of course that's not exactly plan A, but it's better than giving in. We've had an active terrorist issue in the UK for my whole life but whilst we were being regularly bombed by the IRA none of these measures were necessary. Now there are a few (by comparison, a very few) incidents instigated by non-whites we go mental? When are people going to say enough is enough and start fighting back?

non whites - what do you mean? 

What about state terrorism? the kind that has killed more people than any rogue individual, the kind that uses the media to manipulate the sheep in order to numb them prior to invading other countries based on lies, the kind that steals your data, texts, calls, voicemails, emails, surfing habbits of every single person youve ever connected with along with the ones they have connected with.  Not sure about you but I feel uncomfortable imagining a dodgy agent sifting through data, maybe that individual has warped values, maybe he places value on colour of skin, imagine the kind of society this ubiquitous surveilance produces.


The collect it all and analyse later philosopy is so so dangerous for us all as human beings.

Einstein said it right...."Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - he said that after the American dropped a nuclear bomb on a civilian poulation in Hiroshima.  Some may even call that an act of terrorism!

Actually, the IRA did kind of start modern mass surveillance in the UK.  There weren't license plate readers and cameras all around London until the IRA was bombing it.  And once those were there it's like, oh, we can now spy on everyone not just the terrorists.

Funny he mentioned Syria. What he actually said that he wishes to keep the politicians safe from whiners, i.e. citizen and people. Police state UK, the little US :/

I wonder wether parliamentary privilege is affected by this legislation. Files seemingly vanish all the time in there.... But then when the uk's internet porn filter was instigated by a freak (and another close friend of Cameron who is a convicted criminal) well we're in safe hands.. :/

To a degree I agree, however, and its a big BUT - do you/can you TRUST the governments with this information?


They have repeatdedly manipulated the public for thier own needs and wars in which countless  innocent men, women and children have died...they all have brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers etc in whom seeds of hate are planted.  More surveilance is NOT the answer, the answer is MORE open debate, love, tolerence and understanding, can start by getting rid of media that spreads hate and fear.

The answer is what you say, yes, of course. but in the meanwhile I gladly hand over my calling records if it has any chance of  help preventing attacks by those who have already gone too far to be convinced of any other course of action. 

And again, I think the safeguard measures listed in the story sound pretty reasonable.


ps. And I am afraid some parts of your solution are a bit idealistic/naive sounding and even, ironically, against your very goals and principles - you want to get rid of media that spreads hate and fear? Sounds like supression of freedom of speech,no? ;)

Not really,  Ive given my TV away (didnt even know Wimbledon was on till it finnished!!!) im no longer bombarded with adverts (tailored or otherwise) at home, I attempt to stay away from news channels as 90% of it is negative, ive started a feel good page on facebook spreading positivity.  Have tailored my company processes in line with my beliefs of doing good.  Have studied the media, I use certain channels for advertising, also studied human behavior and psychology/manipulation enough to know, see and hear when im being lied to or manipulated.

Freedom of speech?

Remember that all newspapers HAVE to get the ok from the government BEFORE publishing anything that may affect the said government.  The result is distortion and manipulation of the truth.  A very good read and fantastic insight is in this book by the jounalist that Snowden reached out to...

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State

"Remember that all newspapers HAVE to get the ok from the government BEFORE publishing anything that may affect the said government. "

Oh man. You have gone off the deep end.

So the EU basically says people's right to privacy is more important than a blank ability to spy on everyone.  The UK government says we want to continue to spy on everyone in the world including those in the UK and so passes a law to do it.  Forgetting of course that the more you watch, the more things move into darknet.


1. Its what they've been doing anyway, more or less.

2. Hopefully now they will be more accountable not just secret cabinate meetings that no-one knows about.

3. Its how they use the information i.e. the Police? and for what i.e. terrorism, violent crime etc - This is important.

4. Ask yourself - Are you a terrorist? Are you a criminal? Are you an MP? Did you work for the BBC pre 2000?

No? Then you'll probably be ok! This is another rushed policy by an outgoing government (that paradoxically should have been in-plcae since.. er.. data began? What is data..?!).

Problem is most people are sheep, they think its not a problem for them or will be a problem for them so they happily shrug thier shoulders and give it away freely.  Our fathers, grandfathers and greatgrandfathers died to protect our freedoms, for what? so governments can snatch it all away under the name of protectionism. :/