U.K. Government to Start Monitoring Email and Web Usage

The government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon. Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications on demand, in real time.

The Home Office says the move is key to tackling crime and terrorism, but civil liberties groups have criticised it. Tory MP David Davis called it “an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people”. Attempts by the last Labour government to take similar steps failed after huge opposition, including from the Tories.

A new law – which may be announced in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech in May – would not allow GCHQ to access the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant. But it would enable intelligence officers to identify who an individual or group is in contact with, how often and for how long. They would also be able to see which websites someone had visited. In a statement, the Home Office said action was needed to “maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes”.

Even if the move is announced in the Queen’s Speech, any new law would still have to make it through Parliament, potentially in the face of opposition in both the Commons and the Lords. The previous Labour government attempted to introduce a central, government-run database of everyone’s phone calls and emails, but eventually dropped the bid after widespread anger.

Chris Huhne, then the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, said any legislation requiring communications providers to keep records of contact would need “strong safeguards on access”, and “a careful balance” would have to be struck “between investigative powers and the right to privacy”.

Source: BBC News

Image: A1 Social

Prince William and Kate’s Walk from Christmas Service

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined Queen Elizabeth at church for two services on Christmas morning – and they drew quite the crowd eager to see them.

With many watching, the couple walked to and from church with much of their family. The Queen, however, took a car to the services – just a short drive from her home at Sandringham, Norfolk. Key in her family’s thoughts and prayers: Prince Philip, who is still in the hospital after undergoing emergency surgery on Friday.

William and Kate were joined on the walk to the 16th century St. Mary Magdalene Church by Prince Charles; William’s cousins Princess Beatrice and Eugenie; and newlyweds Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall. Kate, in an aubergine-colored coat by an unnamed British designer and hat by Jane Corbett, was flanked by husband William, 29, and her brother-in-law Prince Harry, 27.

This is the first time Kate, 29, has spent Christmas with the royal family – a fact that likely boosted the number of people who came out to watch from the sidelines. Kate chatted with some children, and Beatrice was seen with armfuls of flowers. The Queen was overwhelmed with bouquets from royals fans.

The royals are set to have a traditional turkey lunch – then watch the Queen’s speech.


Source: People.com

Image: Mirror.co.uk