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UK govt's draconian plan to snoop on emails, phone calls sparks outrage

London, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 ANI

London, Apr 2 (ANI): The UK government's plan of nationwide electronic surveillance that would record every email, phone call and website visited by people, has sparked off a storm of protest from civil liberties campaigners in the country.

Under the new proposal, Internet firms would be asked to install hardware that would allow spy centre Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to examine 'on demand' communications judged by the Home Office to be suspect.

GCHQ would need a warrant to access the content of communications, but would be able to trace who people are in touch with and how often and how long they are in contact.

British ministers believe it is an essential step to help police and security services combat terrorism and protect the public, Sky News reports.

Civil liberty campaigners, have however, slammed the proposal calling it an "unprecedented" expansion of state intrusion.

"This is an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran," the report quoted Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group, as saying.

Former party leadership campaigner David Davis called the move an 'unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary innocent people in vast numbers.'

Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil rights group Liberty, also criticized the move, saying 'it is a pretty drastic step in a democracy.'

According to the report, a similar scheme floated by the Labour government six years ago was dubbed 'the Big Brother bill'. (ANI)

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