The bottom line is that there was no way the UK government would initiate a full investigation into Phorm and BT’s activities. The UK government wants the Phorm technology. Desperately. Already it has said that it wants to retain full details of every SMS message, every e-mail and all web activity. Phorm will provide a major part of the technology to do this.
Now Chris Williams at The Register reports that:
The security minister has confirmed officials are considering installing technology that could enable on-demand wiretapping of all communications passing over the internet by the intelligence services and law enforcement.
Lord West told Parliament on Monday that civil servants working on the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) were considering how Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) equipment “might support the lawful interception of communications and separately the lawful acquisition of communications data”.
Chris’ article goes on (my emphasis)
[The] development of surveillance power in the last decade is illustrated by a letter to the editor of The Guardian by then-National Criminal Intelligence Service Director General John Abbott, in 2000.
He wrote: “Conspiracy theorists must not be allowed to get away with the ridiculous notion that law enforcement would or even could monitor all emails. The intelligence agencies have neither the inclination nor the resources, nor the legal ability to monitor the massive amounts of electronic communications that flow through the UK every day.
“It does not happen with letters or telephones and it will not with emails.”
Nine years later, the DPI equipment being considered by the government would allow exactly that.
I was right.
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