Monday, April 2, 2012

The Sunday Times drops a bombshell, but their story resides behind paywall driving traffic to rivals

Just how far will the citizens of the UK allow their government to snoop into their email and Twitter and Facebook accounts? That is the question this morning as both the UK and US news outlets reacted to a story in The Sunday Times which revealed that the Tory government would request sweeping powers to monitor Internet communications.

The story, which was published on Sunday, April Fool's Day, had some believing that it was all a joke. But Murdoch's News Corp. has put the Times behind a solid paywall, preventing most readers from judging for themselves and driving all the generated web traffic to the paper's rivals. In the end, it is certainly no joke.

"Under plans expected to be announced in the Queen’s Speech next month, Internet companies will be told to install thousands of pieces of hardware to allow GCHQ, the Government’s eavesdropping centre, to scrutinize on demand every phone call, text message and email sent and website accessed in real time.”

Still from the German film The Lives of Others

For a country known for its cameras on every street corner, there is apparently a limit to what can be accepted.

“It is not focusing on terrorists or criminals. It is absolutely everybody. Historically, governments have been kept out of our private lives,” Tory MP David Davis said in a statement.

But the government appears seriously considering introducing the new measures: ""It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public," a spokesman for the Tory government said yesterday.