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Published on June 5th, 2013 | by Sophie Goss
Image © JPPI 2011


Protection or invasion? The communications data bill

Back in the 1950s when the growth of digital computers commenced, Professor Leonard Kleinrock announced concepts that would later play a part in the invention of the ‘internet’. In the late 1960’s and early 1970s packet switching networks were established and introduced, and in 1982 ‘internet protocol suit’ became the concept of a worldwide interconnected networks known as the internet.

Since the 1990s the internet has become bigger and more commonly known in households. Now in 2013 the internet has become a permanent fixture in our day-to-day lives. According to 2,405,518,376 people use the internet (last revised in 2012) in Europe alone 518,512,109 63% of the population use the internet.

With the internet being a tool for many different elements, whether its education, entertainment, or social. We can turn to the internet with almost any question, you can find out what the weather will be for the day, you can get 15 different diagnoses for that pain in your foot, but do we really know what we are doing when we type www.?

Every email you send, every website you search, everything you ask Google leaves a track identified as communications data. In the past these ‘tracks’ were viewed when a person was under police investigation and was suspected to be using the internet as a source for illegal activity.

That kid who writes a private email to their mum, do they deserve to have their activity monitored? If you want to write a message to a friend saying, “Hey” is that anyone else’s business? Is it okay for a complete stranger to know what you do in your own home on your ‘private’ computer?

In a country under the title of ‘democratic’ can we still hold such a title if our every move online is censored? You may think you can just ‘log off’ so to speak to avoid such an invasion but the proposed revised Communications Data Bill not only plans to invade the internet, Home Secretary Theresa May has also announced the government’s plans to investigate into matching IP addresses to unique mobile subscribers. This means every call and every text you make will be monitored.

According to there is one CCTV camera for every 14 British citizens making that an estimated 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain now. If the revised communications data bill goes through our internet, mobile phone, and activity in public will be monitored, what is left private?

Recently the Home Secretary announced in light of the recent terror attacks to hit the London streets, she wants to give law enforcement the “tools they need” to track down and prevent terror attacks but is this just mixing politics and fear together to gain control of a nation supposedly run by the people?

The communications data bill is set to be revised and pushed forward in 2015, many see this has the last straw in terms of the invasion of our privacy and intend to fight to stop the bill being passed. Activists have said that if this is allowed we will lose our privacy forever.

Please note that all blog posts do not represent the views of Catch21 but only of the individual writers. We also aim to be factually accurate and balanced across all content taken as a whole.

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About the Author

Sophie Goss

Sophie is currently a BA (Hons) Film Production student at UCA, specialising in producing. She has been studying film since 2007 and took an active interest in politics in 2010 when the coalition came into power. After this, she took a different approach to politics and became a political activist. Her first film at university was shot at the Occupy London stock exchange camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral. Since spending time at the occupy camp she has followed several other movements and as often as possible turned out at protests etc. She is mainly interested in alternative political regimes and equality among humanity delivered by those elected to run our country.

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