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Artificial Intelligence Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez

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UK Government, Big Brother and Communications

This may have completely passed you by, I know it did me, but from October 1st an act came into place that compels phone companies to retain information about their use base, no matter how private,  This means information about all landline and mobile calls which have to made available to, get this, some 795 public bodies and quangos.

 This has been done at the personal decree of Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, and allows all of these organisations to delve into personal communications information as and when they want. 

So who are these organisations that so desperately need to have access to this information ?  Well let me tell you - 475 local councils, and a host of other organisations, including the Food Standards Agency, the Department of Health, the Immigration Service, the Gaming Board and the Charity Commission......

This access have been dressed up as being needed as "a vital tool against terrorism".  Now I am all for things that stop terrorism, but it strikes me that anytime the UK government wants to push something through it plays the 'its needed to combat terrorism' card.  Its nothing short of disgraceful.  It's nothing more than a free for all of state snooping on the very citizens that the government is supposed to represent and is a serious erosion of civil liberties and personal freedom that, now that it has gone, we will never get back.

Once you start digging into this, it stinks to high heaven.  The new measures were implemented after the Home Secretary signed a 'statutory instrument' on July 26. The process allows the Government to alter laws without a full act of Parliament. Can you believe this !!  What separates a supposedly free democratic country like the UK from dictatorial third world or eastern block countries is the democratic process.  As soon as a government starts to think that we the people are not smart enough to understand the decisions being made then believe me, it becomes a rocky road to oblivion.

So what is this information that will be available ?  The records to be kept will detail exactly what calls are made, their time and duration, and the name and address of the registered user of the phone.

The information provided will also reveal where people are when they made mobile phone calls. The information can even be used to track someone's route if i.e. if the call was made from a moving car.  Information will also be kept on the sending and receipt of text messages, possibly including content.  Even scarier, by 2009 the Government plans to extend the rules to cover internet use i.e. ISP's will have to provide the websites we have visited, the people we have emailed and phone calls made over the net. 

I really fear for what the UK will become in 10 to 15 years.  The best thing we can do is to tell this government what we think and kick them out .  Let them know that we, the people they represent, will not tolerate this infringement of our personal freedoms. Use this site to find out who your local MP is and complain to them.

 

 

 

 

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