UK May Force ISP’s To Store Data


The Home Office of the U.K. plans to require ISP’s to store records of all e-mail, social networking and web-traffic, including information from some online games.  The Internet Service Provider’s Association, in a letter to the Home Office says, “The proposals go far beyond the present rules for storing telephone data and would have a debilitating affect on companies, given the costs”.

The Home Office is the United Kingdom’s  government department responsible for immigration control, security and order.  The Home Office or it’s formal title, the Home Department says this data is necessary for police in their efforts to combat terrorism and other serious crimes.  It attempted to implement a government controlled communications database which would have held data from phone calls, text’s, e-mail, social media sites, some web based computer games and other media data collected.

Their efforts lost momentum after complaints raised the important issue of privacy on the Internet.  The U.K. government, with the U.S. following closely behind, wants ISP’s to take on this responsibility and the cost of liability.

Under the new plan, currently in the consultation process, police would have access to all data collected and stored by any ISP, without the consent of the originator.

Last week, when the Home Office released a summary of responses to their consultation on the Interception and Modernisation Programme (IMP), it included a series of examples of violent criminal arrest, children rescued from abuse and lives saved by communication data.  A portion of the examples give good evidence for the collection and use of this data in fighting crime but most of the examples used by the Home Office are being criticized for distorting the facts in an attempt to justify this invasion of privacy.

There is a high price tag for the technology required for this kind of retrieval and storage.  All ISP’s and CSP’s would be forced to sort and organize all incoming and outgoing third party traffic flowing through their systems, which is estimated to cost up to $2 million which will then be passed on the the customers.

The U.K. plans to delay the implementation of this program until after their upcoming elections.

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