Privacy campaigners and even MPs have accused UK political leaders of conspiring to allow spooks to continue to conduct mass surveillance on the public by collecting records of phone calls, text messages and internet usage without a legal basis.
The British government claims it needs to record every phone call and log every text message and email because of terrorism. The Prime Minister David Cameron today said that MI5 and police should immediately be given the legal power to do so in order to stop terrorist plots, citing recent “events in Iraq and Syria” as justification.
In response to the rush to make the practice law, the Open Rights Group condemned the plan, urging that the government knows there is “no legal basis for making internet service providers retain our data so it is using the threat of terrorism as an excuse for getting this law passed”.
The government is arguing that it has to act legislatively because the European court of justice has deemed that the data retention was a breach of privacy rights. In other words what they are already doing is against the law, so the government is attempting to change the law.
“The government has had since April to address the European court of justice ruling but it is only now that organisations such as Open Rights Group threatening legal action that this has become an ‘emergency’,” said Jim Killock, executive director of the watchdog group, explaining that the government is desperately attempting to protect the illegal practices that GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 are already engaged in and are on the brink of losing.
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