Email law 'attack on civil liberty'

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Posted by Yahoo news January 09, 2009 at 08:01:36:

In reply:
Privacy? Hah! posted by Mark Gibbs June 27, 2008 at 12:55:30:

Original text: Last week I discussed how debt collectors operate, how much data they have access to and just how exposed our personal information is. Unfortunately this is very much an IT issue ..

Looming rules that will force internet companies to keep details of every email sent in the UK are an attack on privacy and a waste of money, it has been claimed.

From March, all internet service providers (ISP) will have to keep data about emails sent and received in the UK for a year.

Content of individual emails is not being kept by the authorities, but the timing and number of each communication are.

The law is being implemented as part an EC directive, and the Government will reportedly have to pay the ISPs more than £25 million to ensure the law is obeyed.

Dr Richard Clayton, a security researcher at the University of Cambridge's computer lab said the costs of the regulation could have been better spent.

He told the BBC: "There's going to be a record of every single email which arrived addressed to you and all the emails you sent out via your ISP. That of course includes all the spam."

The Earl of Northesk, a Conservative peer on the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, said it meant anyone's movements could be traced 24 hours a day.

He told the broadcaster: "This degree of storage is equivalent to having access to every second, every minute, every hour of your life. People have to worry about the scale, the virtuality of your life being exposed to round about 500 public authorities.

"Under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, privacy is a fundamental right... it is important to protect the principle of privacy because once you've lost it it's very difficult to recover."

The Home Office said the data would be useful for combating crime.


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