Government plans enforced retention of internet usage data

Under new plans suggested as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the government in the UK could force internet service providers (ISPs) and eventually private businesses to store detailed data relating to the usage of internet services by customers and employees.

The terms could require that the data is stored for a year, although there is some suggestion that this period could be extended even further, if it is deemed necessary to ensure national security.

The government is hoping that the new plans will allow various organisations within law enforcement and the intelligence community to have a better hold on the way in which the internet is being used and abused by enemies of the state.

In the review it is said that by collecting data on internet traffic and being able to recall individual pieces of information, will allow prosecutors to use the details as evidence, in order to win convictions against individuals or groups who have malicious intentions.

The review says that 95 per cent of investigations into organised crime and terrorism have already relied upon communications data and expanding its availability and comprehensiveness, could only lead to a greater chance of dealing justice to those facing allegations of misconduct.

If the plans become legislation, all UK ISPs will have to store vast amounts of data relating to internet usage. However, it is also being suggested that individual firms might be required to carry their own storage solutions, so that they can present evidence in the event of investigation.

It has been estimated in a report written by the London School of Economics, that enacting this plan will cost up to 2 billion.

As part of the agreement signed upon the formation of the coalition government, both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders agreed that the unnecessary storage of data relating to online activity and email services, would be halted.

Campaigners are now concerned that the government is going to rescind on this agreement, with Liberty’s Isabella Sankey telling the Daily Telegraph, that, if these plans are put into practice, it will be a serious turnaround and will damage the privacy of normal citizens.

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