The UK Government has issued emergency powers to allow the police to continue to access internet and phone data legally in the UK.
The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has secured the baking of the three main parties to ensure the public are protected from “criminals and terrorists” after the European Court of Justice struck down existing powers.
Despite opposition from civil liberties campaigners, Cameron has defended the new internet and phone data laws’ citing the act is about maintaining existing capabilities – not introducing new snooping laws. He believes the new law will legally highlight the requirements and standards expected to all internet and phone data companies (including those based abroad) whose internet and phone services are used in the UK.
Cameron has been quoted saying “this is about restoring two vital measures ensuring that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies maintain the right tools to keep us all safe.”
Although the law is aimed at telephone and internet providing companies, the new law outlines their legal obligation to retain “communications data” on their customers. This includes retaining information on the time and date calls were made, what numbers were dialled but not the content of the communication. However, should the authorities require it, the new internet and phone data law provides them with the power to legally intercept communication when a target is identified for additional monitoring.
The UK Government claims it was forced by the European Court to urgently change the law after the Court struck down an EU directive ordering phone and internet companies to retain communications data on the grounds that it infringed their user’s human rights.