UK anti-terror plan to sweep up email, phone, online records

By MSNBC News

Data on all phone calls, text messages, email traffic and online visits would be stored for a year in vast databases under a new anti-terrorism plan in Britain, The Telegraph reported Saturday on its website.

The report, which did not cite sources, said that phone companies and broadband providers would be ordered to store the information themselves for a year for security services’ “real-time” inspection under the plan. Contents of phone calls, texts or emails would not be recorded, The Telegraph said, but the databases would retain the phone numbers and email addresses sent from and to.

And the plan would reach into social networking for the first time, The Telegraph reported, allowing security services to get information about direct messages between users of Facebook, Twitter and similar sites, and even between players in online video games.

The Telegraph said the government had been negotiating with Internet companies for two months and the plan could be announced as early as May. The newspaper noted that there could be concerns over civil liberties issues and over the security of the records themselves.

It wasn’t clear if the plan applied only to domestic communications or whether international calls, texts and tweets would be swept up in the databases. The newspaper described the plan as a reworking of a proposal abandoned in 2009 by the previous Labour government amid a storm of criticism.

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