Government plans advanced online surveillance

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New proposals designed to increase online monitoring capabilities

New proposals are expected to be put forward by the government that would grant authorities greater access to the personal online activities of the British population.

However, while some politicians have insisted that any increased surveillance measures would not impact on the civil liberties of the nation, some campaigners have expressed concerns over the nature of such a monitoring system. 

Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch group, said: "This is an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran."

The government are expected to target emails, texts, social media and websites, looking to pass legislation that enables them to track the transfer of communications on a real time basis in what it is calling a bid to tackle terrorism more effectively.

Such an initiative was proposed by the previous Labour government in 2006, but was quickly reversed due to stiff opposition.

Some sections have expressed their concern over the authorities having access to an increased range of personal information, noting the potential for misuse and breaches of people’s details.

Secure online document storage could prove integral if the government is to hold onto more in-depth records regarding the nation’s internet usage, and this may be vital in earning the trust of the population.

Indeed, given that the Information Commissioner’s Office issued a report 18 months ago that expressed concerns about retaining extra information, any attempt to do so could be met by fierce opposition.

The paper said: "There needs to be some recognition that this additional data will be a honeypot as it will reveal the browsing habits of celebrities, politicians, etc."

Any enhanced monitoring legislation is also expected to impact on internet service providers, as such businesses may be required to fit hardware that enables greater surveillance of people’s online activity.

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