Following the tragic murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich, Theresa May has again raised the possibility of the revival of the ‘Communications Data Bill’. In short the Bill would allow government agencies wide ranging powers to access your online communications and browsing history. The government back up the need for such powers by stating a case that terrorists are becoming more and more savvy when using internet communications to plan terror attacks. They argue that if they were able to monitor flagged suspects ‘online’ communications then they would be much more equipped to thwart a horrific attack such as the murder of Lee Rigby or potentially, an attack on a much larger scale.
While I don’t doubt the good intentions of this Bill, the systematic monitoring of every single website you visit, the video you’ve just watched on youtube or the contents of that personal email you have just sent to your loved one makes me feel uneasy and surely goes against what most people would regard a common civil liberty, the right to privacy.
Added to that a projected cost of nearly £2 billion to develop the retention system that would archive such data then surely this legislation is best left buried?
Either way it’s a debate that won’t go away and with more and more methods of communication being widely used it is something the government will undoubtedly need to address again in the future. Hopefully they do so in a way that satisfies our desire for stricter privacy unlike the Communications Data Bill.