ISPs Warn UK Over Government Email Surveillance ‘Plans’

from Internet firms have warned that government plans to monitor email and social media use in Britain are liable to be used by repressive regimes elsewhere in the world to justify their state surveillance. No internet business was willing to offer a public criticism of the coalition’s proposal on Monday, but many privately raised fears over the legalising of a power to see who is contacting whom online in real time. “There is a question of jurisdiction. There is a risk that if you offer this access to [the authorities in] Britain, then you have to offer it to countries like Syria and Bahrain,” said an internet industry official who declined to be identified because the proposal has not been outlined in detail. A number of MPs and civil liberties groups argued that the plan would endanger privacy and unfettered free expression online. Julian Huppert, the Lib Dem MP, said on Twitter that the Commons home affairs committee wanted to call the home secretary, Theresa May, to give evidence on the proposal. More than 14,000 people have signed a petition by the internet advocacy body Open Rights Group.

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