Daily Archives: 7 April 2009

Right to Privacy

Internet data-retention law comes into force

Internet service providers will have to retain details of Internet communications, including email, under UK law which came into force on Monday.

The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 require service providers to retain details of user Internet access, email and Internet telephony for 12 months. ISPs must also be able to respond to access requests by law enforcement and other designated authorities.

The details of UK citizens’ communications to be retained include which websites people have visited or attempted to visit; the sender, recipient, date and time of emails; and the caller and recipient of Internet telephone calls.

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What this means is that every web site, email and telephone call that you make not only can be monitored if you are suspected of some heinous villainy but will be monitored and retained for 12 months. 

Quite how this will help to stop terrorism or organised crime escapes me.  I could take a laptop to a Witherspoon’s pub or other free Internet access location such as almost anywhere where people have set up free wifi access points for me to use. (Thank you).  I could use a free Internet mail account with some bogus details to plot my nefarious activities.  If I wanted to I could set up a simple device on my laptop to mask my network card’s MAC address.  A simply dongle, router or disposable mobile phone would do.  I would be anonymous again.

Presumably the EU is operating on the assumption that people who want to blow things up are stupid as well as misguided.  The two do not automatically go together. 

I wonder what happens when I email one of my American, Canadian or Australian chums?  They can track my sending an email but not what happens to it?    If I send it to a googlemail account it could literally go anywhere and remain private.  Actually I could set up my own email server, dial into an Australian ISP and route messages that way.  I believe that there are still Aussie Internet hosts that operate out of remote sheep farms and such.  I don’t want to stretch the bounds of national stereotypes too far but I’m sure there are a few.

This law is simply an invasion of my privacy and the privacy of anyone else in the EU.  I will be writing to my MP and MEPs (you can find your’s here and here) asking them to campaign to repeal this pointless and intrusive law.


Filed under Bad things happen, You decide