Govt internet monitoring begins today

By politics.co.uk staff

Internet users’ emails and online phone calls will be stored for the government to overlook, beginning today.

The changes come in an EC directive requiring all internet service providers (ISPs) to keep the data for 12 months.

The directive already applied to telecoms providers but has now been expanded to ISPs.

The content of the communications will not be retained, but companies will be forced to keep a log of the date, time, duration and recipients on all online communications.

The Home Office will cover the costs.

Civil libertarians are outraged that the change came into force without a debate in parliament, having been brought in by statutory implement.

Some opponents argue the Home Office is now lobbying Europe directly for these changes so as to avoid politically explosive debates back home.