Home Office plans surveillance of all online activity 22 May 2008 ComputerWeekly.com
The Home Office is considering radical plans to develop a centralised surveillance system to track in real-time every kind of electronic activity undertaken by citizens.
The project, driven by intelligence services, would require the development of a surveillance system unprecedented in its scope and technical sophistication.
The work is still at the discussion stage and has not been agreed by ministers. But if the project goes ahead as expected, it would require the development of untried technology to tap into phone lines and the internet, retrieve details on every individual's browsing and communications traffic, and store it in a central database.
The envisaged database would not record the content of telephone calls, e-mails or other internet messages. However, it could hold records of telephone and interent traffic data, which would enable investigators to build up a proile of an individual and identify their network of contacts.
The information gathered, for example, could include the time an individual sent an e-mail or instant message, and who received it. It could also record details of websites visited by members of the public, and even who had used which online computer game or video clip, when and for how long.
The project represents a major esclation in the government's powers and the speed at which electronic surveillance can be undertaken.
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