Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We Know Who You Emailed Last Summer.

The government is to push ahead with plans to insist CSP's (Communication Service Providers) keep records of our online communications. This includes social networking sites like Facebook. Hell, it means any company or website that processes any communication online.

The government says it doesn't want to create a single database to hold these records. Just that the CSP's keep records of communications, not their content just a record of who communicated with whom, and that these records will be used for investigating and solving crime. Well, we saw what happened with similar anti-terrorism surveillance laws where councils were spying on people to see if they were living where they said and to catch dog owners not cleaning up their mess.

If you ask me, this isn't about crime in general. It is about specifically targeting illegal downloader's and if that is the case then they should come right out and say so. What other reason could there be? If the content of a communication won't be kept, what good is knowing a communication took place? The only reason I can think of is proving a communication with a known download site.

The other side of the coin, in these circumstances is supposing I email somebody and this communication is held for 2 years. What if some months later the person I emailed is arrested on a serious criminal charge? There is no record that I merely responded to an advert for a ladder for sale, only that the communication took place. So will that communication be ignored, making the law ineffective and irrelevant or will we see thousands of innocent people targeted merely because they sent an email?

Where is the evidence that this will have any effect on crime? This is just another draconian law designed to look like protection for the population in general but in reality will be restrictive and dangerous for the ordinary citizen whose worse crime is putting their bin out on the wrong day.


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