Source: Agencies | 2012-6-15 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
THE UK government has unveiled a controversial plan to log details of every email, phone call or text message in the country - and in a sharply-worded editorial the Home Secretary accused those worried about the surveillance program of being either criminals or conspiracy theorists.
Officials insist they're not after content. They promise not to read the body of emails or eavesdrop on phone calls without a warrant.
Home Secretary Theresa May said in an editorial published ahead of the bill's unveiling that only evil-doers should be frightened.
"Our proposals are sensible and limited," she wrote in The Sun. "They will give the police and some other agencies access to data about online communications to tackle crime, exactly as they do now with mobile phone calls and texts. Unless you are a criminal, then you've nothing to worry about from this new law."
Yet plenty of people were worried, including a senior politician from May's ruling Conservative Party.
"This is a huge amount of information, very intrusive to collect on people," David Davis told BBC radio. "It's not content, but it's incredibly intrusive."
Authorities and civil libertarians have been debating the plan for weeks, but yesterday was the first time the government itemized exactly what kinds of communication it wanted to track, and how it planned to.
The new bill would force communications providers - companies such as the BT or Virgin Media - to gather a wealth of information on their customers.
Providers would log where emails, tweets, Skype calls and other messages were sent from, who they were sent to, and how large they were.
Details of file transfers, phone calls, text messages and instant conversations would also be recorded.
The bill also demands providers collect IP addresses, details of customers' electronic hardware, and subscriber information including names and addresses.
Even physical communications would be monitored.
Address details written on envelopes would be copied; parcel tracking information would be logged.
In The Sun, May dismissed worries that the bill would stomp on free expression as "ridiculous claims" dreamed up by "conspiracy theorists."