New UK Email Law Attacked By Human Rights Group

An attack on privacy and a waste of (public/taxpayers) money, this is what critics say a new EU directive, that the government is trying to force on the UK public, is.

From March 2009, all Internet Service Providers will need to monitor and keep logs about all emails sent or received for 12 months - that's more than 1.1 trillion emails annually in UK alone.

Human rights advocacy group Liberty said that the government has bigger plans to build a central government database to "hold all the information" and Liberty's director, Shami Chakrabarti, to add that this is an attack on Civil liberty.

The Home Office has already put froward the argument that tracking communications is vital to fight cybercrime and combat terrorist plots internationally and that the content of the emails will not be stored but the root of the problem is whether this government can be trusted.

In 2007 and 2008, a string of very high profile data loss blunders starting with the loss of 25 million records from the HM Revenue and Customs followed by files missing from the NHS, the Ministry of defence and the Taxman.

The EC directive which is being enacted by the government is said to cost £25 million and the data collected will be available to more than 500 public authorities.

High profile opponents to the project include Dr Richard Clayton, a security researcher at the University of Cambridge and Earl of Northesk, a Conservative peer.

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Our Comments

It will be interesting to find out how they will track web emails, business emails, mobile emails and whether this law will be extended to include Instant messaging and microblogging (like twitters) as well. This has caused tech blogger Mike Butcher to wonder openly on his twitter "how on earth we can build a coalition against wasteful/pointless UK gov. snooping".

Related Links

New email law slammed

(Webuser)

Email records are 'breach of privacy'

(Thisislondon)

Critics attack upcoming email law

(Publicservice)

Email law 'attack on civil liberty'

(AP)

Email laws slammed over ”breach of privacy” claims

(Newpost Online)

UK e-mail law 'attack on rights'

(BBC)