New, as-yet-unannounced legislation from the UK's GCHQ intelligence agency will supposedly see the government monitor citizens' internet and email use. The Telegraph cites the Sunday Times in reporting that under the new law, ISPs will be required to install hardware that gives the Government Communications Headquarters on-demand, real time access to electronic communications data. This includes email, web browsing, text messaging and phone calls.
The law is intended to aid investigations into 'serious crime and terrorism' and a spokesperson for the Home Office is quoted as saying a warrant would be required to access the content of such communications data. As such, this data would include details such as time, duration of calls, and email addresses used, but no content.
"Communications data includes time, duration and dialing numbers of a phone call, or an email address. It does not include the content of any phone call or email and it is not the intention of Government to make changes to the existing legal basis for the interception of communications," the spokesperson said.
It's thought that the new law will be announced in next month's Queen's Speech and the Telegraph reports that the Home Office has confirmed ministers' intentions to legislate "as soon as parliamentary time allows." A similar law was planned in 2006 but failed following huge opposition.
The Telegraph: Internet activity 'to be monitored' under new laws