A charter to monitor all internet activity in Britain has been dropped from the Queens speech today, following strong opposition from the Liberal Democrats.
The Communications Data Bill suggested that all internet service providers would be legally required to store a record of the online activity of their customers for a whole year. The bill however has been dropped due to strong opposition from the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and his party who have argued that the legislation would be taking things a step too far.
At present authorities have the ability to trace the who, what, where and when of a text message or phone call, however this level of information is often limited when it comes to emails, instant messaging and other online communications. If this information is accessible, it is often not available with the ease and speed that it is with telephone communications.
This is why the government and home office have expressed a strong need to monitor and access online communications in order to reduce the number of online crimes and crimes planned using the internet. The government has stated that they are ‘committed to ensuring law enforcement and intelligence have the power they need to protect the public and ensure national security’ however the bill, nicknamed the ‘Snoopers Charter’ appears to be a step too far.
Issues surrounding this subject have often fallen back to the fact that multiple devices share IP addresses. Reseachers have suggested using an individual identification for each device, this however would be a worldwide change and would take years to pass, implement and enforce.
The Government is addressing the issue and is still suggesting that legislation may need to be passed to ensure authorities have all the resources they need to ensure public protection.