New Proposals Would Allow UK Spy Agency To Monitor Internet Logs In Real-Time

Presented as a bid to tackle the issue of online fraud, the UK government is mulling over legislation that could grant GCHQ, the nation’s cyber and signals intelligence agency, sweeping powers to monitor internet logs in real-time. With a purported aim to catch criminals in the act, this move raises alarm bells on the sanctity of civil liberties. This latest effort, according to The Record, is the government’s response to last year’s inquiry, which decried the existing measures as grossly inadequate in tackling fraud. The inquiry lamented that less than 8% of reported fraud crimes are investigated due to the lack of focus and understanding of the evolving complexity of fraud. It called for a “wholesale change in philosophy and practice.” On the surface, the new proposal seems like an answer, but at what cost? GCHQ aims to utilize Internet Connection Records (ICRs), a cache of metadata that includes details of services that devices connect to but not the content accessed. At present, ICRs are relegated to identifying individuals already under suspicion. However, this proposed legislation would expand the powers, potentially allowing ICRs to be used in identifying new suspects – a radical shift. The government’s obscure communication surrounding this proposal highlights the need for public scrutiny. When tasked with an independent review of the government’s proposition, David Anderson, former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, received an operational case from GCHQ which claimed that improved access to ICRs could be used to detect financial fraud and even child sexual abuse…New Proposals Would Allow UK Spy Agency To Monitor Internet Logs In Real-Time