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UK Government Revives ISP Internet Snooping Database to Monitor Citizens

Posted: 21st Oct, 2010 By: MarkJ
imp internet defence ukThe controversial Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), which will see all YOUR email accesses and website visits (not content) monitored and stored for a period of one year, was revived in yesterdays Spending Review after the previous Labour administration put it on hold prior to the 2010 General Election.

The system is expected to cost a staggering £2bn over a 10-year period and many organisations, such as the NHS, Local Councils and even Royal Mail could be granted access to this data, not just the police and security services.

Government Spending Review 2010 Statement

[We will] introduce a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications within the appropriate legal framework. This programme is required to keep up with changing technology and to maintain capabilities that are vital to the work these agencies do to protect the public.

Communications data provides evidence in court to secure convictions of those engaged in activities that cause serious harm. It has played a role in every major Security Service counterterrorism operation and in 95% of all serious organised crime investigations.

We will legislate to put in place the necessary regulations and safeguards to ensure that our response to this technology challenge is compatible with the Government’s approach to information storage and civil liberties.

The text itself was buried deep within the government's Strategic Defence and Security Review, which isn't surprising since the new coalition government had originally pledged in May 2010 to "end the storage of internet and email records without good reason".
The Strategic Defence and Security Review (PDF)
Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty
However contrary to some reports, the coalition has never officially said that it would completely scrap the IMP like some other privacy invading programmes. Crucially the IMP itself does not record the content of a communication, only access data.

Earlier plans for a centralised government database to store all the information were scrapped. Instead UK broadband ISPs were required to maintain the information. As it stands the new announcement doesn't offer much detail, merely proposing to "preserve" rather than expand the IMP.
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