UK Gov’t to Intercept Social Networking Communications, Too

According to the EU Data Retention Directive, ISPs in the EU are required to store customer internet traffic for up to 12 months. Predictably, the UK government wants to go even further with its “Interception Modernisation Programme” or IMP.

IMP will monitor all web communications of UK citizens using deep-packet inspection. The information will be stored centralized government database, and will likely represent a bullseye for hackers throughout the word. There is no mention of what that database will be called, but the name Himmler immediately springs to mind (maybe Hochstetter?).

What is not currently intercepted and stored are social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and instant messaging applications. That will change. They, too will be part of the new digital dragnet.

The cost associated with every UK ISP maintaining the ability to perform deep-packet inspection and store the resulting data is very expensive. According to a Cnet/UK article, Cambridge University computer security expert Richard Clayton says:

“To deploy deep-packet inspection equipment isn’t cheap–the word ‘billion’ is appropriate,” Clayton said. “It took the Home Office the best part of a year to find 3 million pounds for the Police e-Crime Unit. That’s what is wrong with this picture.”

I wonder if that money would be better spent on determining what is in the water that is causing the British government to become so paranoid, and the people so apathetic towards the anti-privacy noose tightening around their necks.

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