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[FYI] (Fwd) BBC Online 25/5/2000: "Watching while you surf"

------- Forwarded message follows -------
From:           	"Caspar Bowden" <cb@fipr.org>
To:             	"FIPR News Archive \(E-mail\)" <news_archive@fipr.org>,
       	"Ukcrypto \(E-mail\)" <ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk>
Subject:        	BBC Online 25/5/2000: "Watching while you surf"
Date sent:      	Fri, 26 May 2000 10:43:45 +0100

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Watching while you surf

PCs might soon be watching people surf on their PC  

By BBC News Online internet reporter Mark Ward The UK is leading the 
world when it comes to high-tech spying on its citizens, say civil 
liberty and privacy groups.  

The campaigners fear that if a bill that is getting its second 
reading in the House of Lords on Thursday becomes law, the police and 
security forces would gain abilities to snoop on British citizens 
using the internet that are "unprecedented in peacetime".  

They allow anyone to watch the websites you are browsing in real time 

Caspar Bowden, Foundation for Information Policy Research If the 
Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Bill is passed, internet 
service providers will be forced to install black boxes in their data 
centres that connect directly to an MI5 monitoring centre in London.  

Caspar Bowden, director of the Foundation for Information Policy 
Research, says the bill and the black boxes give police vastly 
increased powers to snoop.  

"They will allow anyone to watch the websites you are browsing in 
real time."  

Police power  

The government says the RIP bill is simply updating the powers of the 
police for the digital age. It claims the bill will help them track, 
trace and tap high-tech criminals who are using the internet.  

"The bill does not give the law enforcement agencies anymore powers 
than they already have," said a Home Office spokesman.  

But Mr Bowden says that the bill makes it much easier for the police 
to force net service providers to provide a list of the websites 
customers are visiting.  

Currently if the police want to eavesdrop on private communications 
they have to get a judicial or ministerial permission in the form of 
a warrant.  

Liberty lost  

This change also has the Data Protection Commission worried. "The 
judicial process is an independent review of whether the intrusion is 
justified," said David Smith, assistant data protection commissioner. 

He said without these checks there was a danger that the right to 
personal privacy would be infringed.  

The Home Office spokesman says the bill imposes greater restrictions 
on the ability of the police to tap communications.  

"The bill will restrict the use of these powers more than they are at 
the moment," he said. "The police will have to satisfy more checks 
than they do now."  

Mr Bowden says the government has overlooked key facts about the way 
that the internet works.  

A phone call can be tapped because it directly connects the people 
talking. By contrast data travelling over the internet is chopped up 
into packets and reaches a destination by any number of routes.  

"If you want to tap anything on the internet, you have to tap 
everything and throw away what you don't want," he says  

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