UK Bill Allows Authorities Data Access Without Warrant

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) –The draft of a communications bill in the United Kingdom could have a profound effect on Internet privacy. The currently being considered Communications Data Bill would allow law enforcement officials in the country to access key web services data of citizens suspected of major crimes including terrorism at an almost instant pace.

The data itself pertains to email, visited websites and more. Law enforcement would be able to access such info provided through ISP companies. The draft was initially detailed by Queen Elizabeth II in a speech to the British parliament last month.

“My government intends to bring forward measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public, subject to scrutiny of draft clauses,” commented Her Majesty.

Meanwhile, one of the bill’s most controversial measures could be related to warrants. According to a report from ZDNet, authorizes don’t require such authorization to access basic communications data. However, a warrant is required to view the actual content. ZDNet has a good Q&A on the bill’s specifics.

Accessing citizens’ online data through ISPs has been a sensitive subject in other countries as well. In May, it was reported that authorities in the United States were seeking new allowances to wiretap user info through websites including Facebook.