According to the BBC and Guardian websites, a controversial new English law is expected to be announced in the Queen’s speech on the 9th of May. The proposed new law will allow the UK police and security services to access the Web and Internet phone traffic of all UK residents. This will include access to all phone calls (made via the Internet), emails, social media exchanges and website visits.
The proposals will grant UK police and security services the right to see:
- the time of a call, email, or website visit;
- the duration of the call or visit;
- which websites or phone numbers were called;
- details of the sender and recipient of emails, such as IP addresses
- without any need for first obtaining a court warrant.
If a warrant is obtained, then the content of such messages will also be disclosed upon request.
The proposed legislation will loosen the existing surveillance arrangements set out in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. The Government claims these new rights are needed to give the police and security services extended powers to enable them to investigate serious crime and terrorism. The same argument used in the USA prior to the introduction of the Patriot Act. The new law will in effect give the UK police and security services rights very similar to those granted to US authorities under the Patriot Act.
If this proposed new law is adopted, UK based suppliers of cloud computing services will face increased problems in persuading customers to move across from more traditional suppliers and previous customer concerns about the Patriot Act will almost fade into insignificance in comparison with these new UK rights.