UK Govt's Proposed Snooper Charter A Minefield For Lawsuits

September 14, 2012
Is your boss spying on you by topgold, on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License??by??topgold?
How would you like it if your government had access to your social media activity? UK government plans to create a law that allows the recording of mobile phone and internet information of Britons might lead to a barrage of privacy suits from online users located outside the country. Social media site Twitter indicated that it is very likely that the Internet activities and conversations of citizens outside the UK can be gathered via the proposed surveillance system, putting many communications companies at risk for lawsuits instituted in foreign countries. David Davis, former shadow home secretary, said that the idea is very intrusive and violated privacy rights. Theresa May, the current shadow home secretary, says otherwise. The incumbent said that those who criticized the scheme were most likely conspiracy theorists, because the main intention was to protect the state from a variety of unscrupulous activities. The communications bill, loosely called the 'snoopers charter', will allow police and intelligence service agents to gather information from online conversations and activities, as well as other personal information of users like phone numbers, email addresses, home addresses and contact details of anybody communicating with target suspects. The content, however, will only be given after the warrant has been signed by the shadow home secretary. The online snooping scheme intended by the British government will monitor email and posts on popular social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook. The plan is estimated to cost around ?10 billion, at least, although there is a huge possibility that the overall cost will go much higher, according to the Home Office. The cost is to be settled by the ministers, as agreed. If this pushes through, Internet and phone firms will be collecting the records of mobile phone and Internet use for a span of 1 year and place them at the disposal of intelligence agencies and the police. Several online users, as well as social media networks, were concerned about the effects of the bill. Twitter itself wishes to know more about the relative effects of the scheme to foreign legislation and if data protection and privacy laws in other countries would be infringed. Would you want your tweets screened in the name of national security? Tell us what you think of this proposal in the comments.

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