Tuesday, 3 April 2012

RWB condemns UK internet surveillance proposal

Press freedom campaign group Reporters Without Borders has added its opposition to the Government's proposal to monitor the email trafic and internet use of everyone in the UK.

RWB strongly condemns the proposed bill allowing monitoring of all phone calls, text messages, emails and other electronic communications that the British government plans to submit to Parliament in the coming weeks.

“We are shocked to hear more and more supposedly democratic countries such as India, France, Australia and now the United Kingdom expressing a desire to adopt the kind of systematic monitoring of communications used by the planet’s most repressive regimes,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“The British government’s proposed bill is disproportionate and dangerous, and its effectiveness is not guaranteed. By placing all of its citizens under surveillance, it would have the effect of encouraging its targets to use easily accessible anonymization methods. And its implementation without reference to the courts could open the way to all kinds of abuses.

“The introduction of this system would turn Internet Service Providers and mobile phone operators into police auxiliaries. This is not just open to criticism in principle. It would encounter major legal, technical and financial obstacles in practice. Britain, the land of habeas corpus, must continue to set an example as regards the protection of individual rights and freedoms.

RWB added: “We urge the British government to abandon this bill and to consider other ways to fulfil its duty to combat terrorism, ways that respect individual freedoms and the right to privacy.”

  • Writing in the Sun today, Home Secretary Theresa May argues the new powers are needed to "help police stay one step ahead of the criminals" and that only terror suspects and serious criminals such as Soham child murderer Huntley have anything to fear.

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