Google involvement in creation of UK’s anti-terror database criticised

Google cannot be trusted to help manage Britain’s new anti-terror database, the UK Government’s privacy watchdog said.

Records of all communications, including e-mails, text messages and the use of Facebook, Twitter and Skype, will kept by the company and internet service providers for at least 12 months under a scheme being drawn up by the Home Office.

Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, said that involving Google would be flawed after he found the company responsible for a “significant breach” of data protection rules.

The Government wants a record of all private communication after the police and security services insisted that it was essential in the fight against terrorism and organised crime.

Details for the plans to intercept and collect details of telephone
and internet use were buried in the Strategic Defence and Security
Review. The review, published last month, said that “communications
data” had played a role in every MI5 counter-terrorism operation and 95
per cent of all organised crime investigations.

It said that new
regulations would ensure the database was “compatible with the
Government’s approach to information storage and civil liberties”.

But it has dropped Labour’s proposals for a central government database and has decided that individual companies will be required to keep details of customers’ internet and telephone use but not the content of calls or messages.

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