Britain’s Home Secretary, Theresa May, will introduce legislation next month in an attempt to allow Britain’s law-enforcement to “check in” on citizens using their Twitter, Facebook, email and Skype accounts.
The proposed legislation, the ‘Snoopers’ Charter,’ would allow for “on demand” knowledge in “real time” of who speaks to whom. The agencies that would be able to receive the information gathered include MI5 and GCHQ. The Home Office stated, “the new law would keep crime-fighting abreast of developments in instant communications – and that a warrant would still be required to view the content of messages.” The data gathered that would not require a warrant may include time and duration of citizens use of various media. May feels confident that the new law will be enacted because normally strong supporters of civil liberties, the Liberal Democrats, are backing the new law.
The proposed law has its critics. Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch Campaign Group, stated, “This is an absolute attack on privacy online and it is far from clear this will actually improve public safety.” Pickles continued to describe the law as “an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance as in China and Iran.”