Police to 'keep you safe' by checking your emails

Police to 'keep you safe' by accessing your emails
Soon there'll be nowhere to hide online

Home Secretary Theresa May has been arguing in favour of updated 'snooping' laws that would allow police, tax officials and other security services access to anyone and everyone's phone, internet and webmail records.

Although this major update to the country's communication laws has been mooted for a while, May has finally formalised the extension and is all set to publish the new Communications Bill this week.

The plan is this: the Communications Data Bill is being updated to force ISP and phone networks to store details of all users' calls, emails, social networking activity and web history which would then be available to the police if ever you came under investigation.

May's one concession to privacy is this: council officials and 'other agencies' would not have access to the records, which would only be stored for a year.

At the moment, police, town halls, government departments and the Office of Fair Trading all have access to people's phone records, but only the police, security agencies and tax officials will be able to get into the new system that houses email and web browsing details.

Basically, pretty much everything you do online will be logged.

Tax dodgers beware

May told BBC Breakfast, "This [current system] is used by the police as evidence to prosecute criminals and to put them behind bars.

"But in the new world people communicate in different ways. They are no longer using telephones. They communicate over the internet, so we want to update the ability of the police and the security services have to have access to this communications data.

"It's not about the content, it's not about reading people's emails or listening to their telephone calls. This is purely about the who, when and where made these communications and it's about ensuring we catch criminals and stop terrorists."

The plans have many detractors, however, including Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg (no comment) and at least one senior Tory, David Davis, who described it as "incredibly intrusive" and would lead to capture of "the innocent and incompetent".

From BBC, Telegraph

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.