UK Government Uses Digital Communications Data to Spy on Their Citizens

Susanne Posel, Contributor
Activist Post

The UK Home Office (UKHO) has British officials surveying its citizens as part of the government’s annual legislative program.

This is an extensive expansion of the current laws to allow the MI5 data securitization.

UKHO claims they are not snooping through private emails and messages, but rather deciphering where the communications are originating from, who sent it, its length and format.

The 4 billion hours of phone calls, 1 million emails and 130 billion text messages that are expected to be prime source information.

The proposed bill, if passed would place massive amounts of personal data into the hands of the British government. How they use that data is purely at their discretion.

David Davis, senior Tory backbencher said: “It is not focusing on terrorists or on criminals. It is absolutely everybody. Our freedom and privacy has been protected by using the courts by saying ‘If you want to intercept, if you want to look at something, fine, if it is a terrorist or a criminal go and ask a magistrate and you’ll get your approval'”.

An average Briton’s private and daily habits would be open-source to potentially be used against them.

Internet companies will have to install hardware enabling GCHQ – the Government’s electronic “listening” agency – to examine “on demand” any phone call made, text message and email sent, and website accessed in “real time”.

“We’re really entering a whole new phase of analysis based on the data that we can collect,” said Gerald Kane, an information systems expert at Boston College. “There is quite a lot you can learn.”

Cell phone and service providers would be obliged to hand over customer data to the government.

Assessing location through communications gives the UK government access to information about their citizens that was previously unavailable.

Smartphones and social media can also be used to engage otherwise unknown material about whomever the authorities want to survey. All of this data is conveniently stored on most modern cell phones.

Ken Altshuler, of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers admitted that: “One name, one phone number that’s not on our client’s radar and our curiosity is piqued.” This data mining software allows previously unattainable evidence to be entered into court proceedings.

By analyzing your text messages, the government will know the sleeping habits of British citizens. “You can figure somebody’s sleep patterns, their weekly pattern of work,” said Tony Jebara, a Columbia University machine learning expert.

The information Jebara supposes has been an interest of credit card corporations for years.

By seeing when a call or text message is responded to can create a picture of how a person views others; including authority figures. Jebara, with Columbia colleges, created the term “automated social hierarchy detection” whereby they can determine who a person views other by how quickly they answer phone calls, text messages and emails.

Intelligence agencies could also use this information by creating flowcharts to understand their subject. Jebara remarked: “If you piece together the chain of influence, then you can find the central authority. You can figure that out without looking at the content.”

By using cell phone programs to determine the density of communication with specific persons, authorities can identify who are friends, family, acquaintances and classify them as such for further analysis.

The big brother style surveillance being prosed in Briton will expand authorities reach from social networking sites where users “volunteer information” to actual spying techniques where a constant flow of information is readily available.

By asserting that the UK government will implement safeguards to protect from abuse of power, they claim that the digital trails being left behind by people are shifting the rights to privacy, which legitimizes their use of that information against their own citizens.

Susanne Posel is the Chief Editor of Occupy Corporatism. Our alternative news site is dedicated to reporting the news as it actually happens; not as it is spun by the corporately funded mainstream media. You can find us on our Facebook page .

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