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Internet monitoring is a small price to pay for our security

21st June 2012

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On hearing the government’s proposal, I immediately thought of Big Brother waiting to catch us out; a large database chronicling our every move. However this nightmarish vision is far from the truth, as the bill is concerned only with finding the criminals that are harming society. 

Nine men were recently convicted in Rochdale following their involvement in child exploitation and Home Secretary Theresa May argues that the case could have been handled better with greater surveillance powers. Peter Davies, the head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre agrees and says that they are often prevented from investigating child abuse cases due to a limited amount of data.

One of the issues is that the internet is forever growing, with over 900 million people using Facebook every month. Although the majority simply post pictures of a recent holiday or invite friends to a party, others undoubtedly use it in the hope of avoiding detection. It is these people that the government are attempting to track and not innocent citizens harmlessly posting about their everyday lives.

The change to existing laws will not even be that drastic, as communication companies already keep phone and email records so that they know whom to bill. The police can see this data if required and use it in practically every serious organised crime investigation. Emails and messages clearly point towards a person’s guilt and should not be hidden away in cyberspace allowing a criminal to go unnoticed. If we already allow communication companies to store our details then why should we reject these new proposals? 

All that the bill really entails is the retention of a wider range of data such as websites visited and who is speaking to whom. This would cover Skype and social networking sites but would not allow a whole host of people to read your emails unless a serious criminal offence was being committed. Even then a warrant needs to be granted before any kind of content can be viewed.

With an increasing number of people using the internet, our laws need to change in order to keep up with these new ways of communication. This new bill may seem like an invasion of our privacy but it is a small sacrifice to pay if it means that serious criminals can be discovered at a faster rate. 

Do you agree? Read the other side of the argument here. 

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