Big Brother

2009-04-06

OK, I know I’ve been posting a slew of entries today (making up for a few days with no posts, I guess), but this one I felt had to be addressed.

The government will, from the 6th of april, be monitoring every email and possibly instant message and chat communication by uk residents. Let me reiterate that, every email and telephone number you send and receive is now monitored.

The EU passed a directive recently which required all member states to do this. There was no discussion, however, in our own parliament on whether and how this should be implemented. Instead the home office just pushed ahead like an unstoppable juggernaut and forced all ISPs and Telecoms providers to monitor all communications through their systems.

Fair enough, the content of any communications is not logged, but everything else is, including who you send your emails to and who you phone. Also included is who send you communications, which means that if spammer ‘x’ sends you an email with subject “let’s go ahead with the bombing on the 11th november”, the time and date along with the subject will be recorded and, if there happens to be a bombing by said spammer, you will become implicated by association. This despite the fact that you never solicited the email in question.

And, expanding on this theory a bit, what would stop bomber ‘y’ from sending all his communications to his compatriots via spam botnets. How would the government determine the intended recipients of the email from spam victims? This, also, doesn’t even consider open standards-based encryption technologies like PGP (pay)/GPG (open source), which are available for anybody to use and encrypt with huge keys that would take an age to decipher (especially given the government’s limited means).