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A paper allegedly leaked to civil liberties body the Open Rights Group has suggested that the government is considering the ‘live’ surveillance of British web users’ internet communications.
The consultation on the paper, which includes plans to ask phone companies and internet service providers to provide data within one working day, is due to end on 19 May
Such access would need to be sanctioned by secretaries of state and a judge appointed by the prime minister.
According to reports, the paper also recommended that tech companies could be required to remove - or enable the removal - of encryption from communications as they would need to be provided ‘in an intelligible form’ without ‘electronic protection’.
However, the idea of enabling this process has been highly criticised by campaigners who have argued that it could be exploited by hackers and endanger innocent users.
In an interview with the BBC, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group said: “The public has a right to know about government powers that could put their privacy and security at risk .
"It seems very clear that the Home Office intends to use these to remove end-to-end encryption - or more accurately to require tech companies to remove it.
"I do read the regulations as the Home Office wanting to be able to have near real-time access to web chat and other forms of communication.”
By Graham Payne, CEO of Opencell, ensuring everyone indoors has network.
Your mobile phone rings at work, it’s an important call and you need to answer but when you pick up, the call drops. After a few failed call-back attempts, you realise you need to go outside to get a good connection. So off you go to return the call you can’t miss, in a way that wastes more of your time than necessary, out in the open (oh no!) it’s raining, and quite frankly you need to be getting on with that work left over from yesterday, and now the wind is making it hard to hear…