Home Secretary: 'Ordinary people's emails won't be tracked'

Home Secretary: 'Ordinary people's emails won't be tracked'
Common people need not apply

The UK government is still pressing ahead with what the tabloids are calling 'a snooping charter' but won't be tracking everyday emails or Facebook updates.

This is according to home secretary Theresa May who has written an editorial in The Sun newspaper regarding the government's proposed plans to monitor emails and Facebook data in the UK.

The proposal is that GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) will be given complete power to track all forms of digital communication – phone call, text, website's visited and emails – in the UK.

This is not something which is new – TechRadar ran an article back in 2008 that Labour was thinking of investing in a 'spying database'. Then in 2009, the GCHQ had to deny it was creating snooping tech for use on the internet.

Fast forward to 2012 and in her piece May tries to calm the furore which has erupted over the plans and has essentially said: 'calm down normal people, it's only terrorists and paedophiles that we want to monitor'.

State of play

"The police and security agencies use information from phone records to solve crime and keep us safe," explained May.

"Looking at who a suspect talks to can lead the police to other criminals. Whole paedophile rings, criminal conspiracies and terrorist plots can then be smashed.


"There are no plans for any big Government database. No one is going to be looking through ordinary people's emails or Facebook posts."

"Data like this has already helped lock away murderer Ian Huntley. It helped catch the gangland thugs who gunned down Rhys Jones."

She continued: "Currently online communication by criminals can't always be tracked. That's why the Government is proposing to help the police stay one step ahead of the criminals.

"There are no plans for any big Government database. No one is going to be looking through ordinary people's emails or Facebook posts.

"Only suspected terrorists, paedophiles or serious criminals will be investigated."

The shadow home secretary David Davis is not convinced, though, and has said about the plans: "The new law does not focus on terrorists or criminals. It would instead allow civil servants to monitor every innocent, ordinary person in Britain, and all without a warrant.

"This would be a massive, unnecessary extension of the State's power."

Whichever way you look at it, the government wants to overhaul surveillance in the UK to take into consideration what we all do online – so expect this to run and run.

Via The Sun

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.