UK Government Mulls Monitoring Every Brit

Dennis Faas's picture

According to recent reports from Britain, the UK government is considering a plan that would see up to twelve billion pounds spent on the monitoring and storing of citizen emails, phone calls, and browsing habits.

The expansive tracking strategy, if implemented, would include everyone in Britain. Currently, the government has spent about a billion pounds financing similar projects; clearly, the infusion of twelve times that amount will drastically change the state's powers to probe the citizen population.

The government's plan will use Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and home and mobile phone companies to monitor Britons. Already British online publication the Times Online is speculating that "Hundreds of clandestine probes will be installed to monitor customers live on two of the country's biggest Internet and mobile phone providers -- thought to be BT and Vodafone." (Source:

The plan is not expected to go unnoticed. Ministers are bracing for the worst from what is sure to be an angry populace; Dominic Grieve, shadow home secretary recently stated publicly, "Any suggestion of the government using existing powers to intercept communications data without public discussion is going to sound extremely sinister." And yet, despite those worries sources report that ministers have already agreed "in principle" to the expansion -- indeed, explosion -- of government tracking capabilities.

Britain's MI5 has been conducting email and website tracking for some time under the auspices of the home secretary. (Source:

So, why are such measures necessary?

The official word is that monitoring is necessary in order to curtail terrorism and crime. However, many wonder if the government, even at twelve billion pounds, can really cast a net wide enough to track each and every correspondence in Britain. Besides the millions of emails and phone calls being made every hour, some 57 billion text messages were sent last year -- 1,800 a second.

More details surrounding the plan are expected during the Queen's speech next month.

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