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Britain to monitor web, cell phone use

United Kingdom,Defence/Security,Science/Tech, Sun, 01 Apr 2012 IANS

London, April 1 (IANS) Under new laws, Britain will soon be able to monitor phone calls, emails, text messages and website visits of everyone in the country, BBC reported.


Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) access to communications on demand.


The Home Office said the move was needed to tackle crime and terrorism.


However, the new law -- which is expected to be announced in May -- would not allow the GCHQ to access the content of emails or messages without a warrant.


But it would enable intelligence officers to identify who an individual or group is in contact with, how often and for how long.


"It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public," a Home Office spokesman said.


Nick Pickles, director of campaign group Big Brother Watch, said the move will see Britain "adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran".


"This is an absolute attack on privacy online and it is far from clear this will actually improve public safety, while adding significant costs to internet businesses," he said.


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