donatieknop english

British government backs down over telephone database plan

The Washington Post, AP, Jill Lawless, Monday, April 27, 2009; 8:28 AM

LONDON -- The British government said Monday it wants communications companies to keep records of every phone call, e-mail and Web site visit made in the country. But it has decided not to set up a national database of the information, a proposal that had been condemned as a "Big Brother"-style invasion of privacy by civil liberties groups.  

The government said in October it was considering a central database of phone and Internet traffic as part of a high-tech strategy to fight terrorism and crime.

 But Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said Monday the plan had been dropped.

 A document outlining the department's proposals said the government "recognizes the privacy implications" of a database and "does not propose to pursue this approach."

 

Instead, the government said it was backing a "middle way" that would see service providers store and organize information on every individual's phone and Internet traffic so that it could be accessed by police and other authorities on request.

 The Home Office estimated introducing the new system would cost up to 2 billion pounds ($3 billion).  

Under current rules, British Internet service providers are already required to store records of Web and e-mail traffic for a year. The new proposals would also require them to retain details of communications that originated in other countries but passed across British networks _ for example if someone in Britain accessed a U.S.-based e-mail account.

 The government said providers would not store the content of calls, e-mails or Internet use. They would retain details of times, dates, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and Web site URLs.

 Smith said officials had to strike "a delicate balance between privacy and security," but insisted police and intelligence agencies needed more tools to fight crime and terrorism in an ever-more complex online world.

 "Advances in communications mean that there are ever more sophisticated ways to communicate and we need to ensure that we keep up with the technology being used by those who would seek to do us harm," Smith said.

 The proposals are still a long way from becoming law. The government is seeking public comment until July, and widespread opposition is expected.

 The government said there would be strict safeguards on who could access the information, but critics say existing surveillance powers have been abused by local authorities investigating relatively trivial offenses such as littering or failing to clean up dog mess.

 That led the government in December to say it would clamp down on abuses of surveillance laws.

 Trust in the government also has been hit by a series of lost data incidents. In November, a government department lost a disk that contained the names, addresses and bank details of 25 million people.

Gepubliceerd in Profiling

UK government loses personal information of 25 million people

WikiNews, Tuesday, November 20, 2007

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced to a shocked House of Commons today that two password-protected — but not encrypted — computer disks containing the entire Child Benefit database have been lost in transit between the offices of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in Washington, Tyne & Wear and the National Audit Office (NAO) in London, in what has been described as "one of the world’s biggest ID protection failures".

The database contains details of all families in the UK who receive Child Benefit — all families with children up to 16 years of age, plus those with children up to 20 years old if they are in full-time education or training — estimated to contain 25 million individuals in 7.25 million families. Among other items of information, the database contains names, addresses, dates of birth, child benefit and National Insurance numbers, and where appropriate, bank or building society account details.

The discs were created by a junior official at the HMRC in response to a request for information by the NAO, and were sent unregistered and unrecorded on 18 October using the courier company TNT — which operates the HMRC's internal mail system. When it was found that the discs had not arrived for audit at the NAO, a further copy of this data was made and sent — this time by registered mail — and this package did arrive. HMRC were not informed that the original discs had been lost until 8 November, and Darling himself was informed on 10 November.

The violation of data protection laws involved in the creation of the discs has led to strong attacks on the government's competence to establish the proposed National Identity Register, when all UK residents will have an identity card. Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne described the loss of data as "catastrophic" and said "They [the government] simply cannot be trusted with people's personal information".

The Chairman of HMRC, Paul Gray, has resigned over the affair, and critics are calling for Darling to do likewise.

This is the third data embarrassment for HMRC in recent weeks — earlier this month it was reported that the details of over 15,000 Standard Life customers had been put on disk, and then lost en route from HMRC in Newcastle to Standard Life in Edinburgh — and last month a laptop containing the data of 400 people with high-value ISAs was stolen from the boot of a car belonging to a HMRC official who had been carrying out a routine audit.

Sources

Gepubliceerd in Identiteitsdiefstal
zondag, 23 augustus 2009 19:47

Suspect Nation

Beroemde Britse documentaire "Suspect Nation" (Verdachte Natie) over de vorderingen van de opbouw van de elektronische controlestaat Groot-Brittannië. Voor het eerst uitgezonden in november 2006 door de BBC, maar nog even actueel. (45 min.)

Gepubliceerd in Videocorner

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