A new study from experts at the London School of Economics (LSE) has found that government plans to monitor our Internet communications could cause a massive burden on networks and has been called overly intrusive.
ISPs and phone companies already have to store our communications data for 12 months.
The new plan will allow the government to access third party overseas providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail which means authorities can examine our entire Internet activity and phone calls.
“We are concerned that the Home Office is contemplating a dramatic enhancement in surveillance powers and increase in regulatory burdens placed upon communications service providers,” says the report.
“What is being proposed under these modernisation powers is that every communication transaction, and all forms of future transactions, is now suspicious, worthy of later consideration by the police.”
It adds: “This is a phase change not only in communications surveillance, but in the power of surveillance by government itself.”
The report exploses a brief history the interception of communications dating back to 1660.
The report continues: “Although there is a case for the new powers, a thorough analysis of all citizensÊ¼ communication traffic data would radically transform British society. Private meetings would be a thing of the past. This would be akin to having to notify the government of all the people you met with last night, in order to give them the opportunity to choose whether they want to retrospectively read any conversation transcripts that may be available. This has profound implications for the ability to associate free from surveillance.
“Political campaigning and political organising would be radically transformed. Political actors would be under constant scrutiny, regardless of whether their communications data is actually being physically read by an individual.
“As the general public becomes aware of the practice of collecting and collating all this personal information, the risk is that it will generate a chilling effect on the individual’s right to free expression, association and might dissuade people from participating in communications transactions. Already, following from the media coverage of the Government ‘wanting to get access to social networking profiles’ there has been a rising concern about what people do or say on social networking sites.”