Communications Data Bill 2008

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The Communications Data Bill was intended to create powers to collect data concerning people's phone, e-mail and web-browsing habits for mass surveillance in the United Kingdom. The government database would have included telephone numbers dialed, the websites visited and addresses to which e-mails are sent but not the text of e-mails or recorded telephone conversations.[1]

Since October 2007 telecommunication companies have been required to keep records of phone calls and text messages for twelve months. The bill would have extended the coverage to Internet website visited, email messages, and VOIP data.[2]

Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat Home affairs spokesman said at the time: "The government's Orwellian plans for a vast database of our private communications are deeply worrying."[3]

The plans were not completed during the Labour administration, but intentions to gain access to more communications data lived on under the coalition elected in 2010 as the Communications Capabilities Development Programme run by the Home Office's Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism. In 2012, a new Draft Communications Data Bill was published.

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  1. ^ "Concern over giant database idea". BBC. October 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-15. The government's terror watchdog has expressed concern about proposals for a giant database to store details of all phone calls, e-mails and internet use. 
  2. ^ Verkaik, Robert; Morris, Nigel (October 15, 2008). "Storm over Big Brother database". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2008-10-15. The controversial measure will be included as a way of combating terrorism in the Data Communications Bill, which is to be introduced in the Queen's Speech in December. Ministers are known to be considering the creation of a single database holding all the information, which would include phone numbers dialled and addresses to which emails are sent but not details of phone conversations or the contents of emails. 
  3. ^ "Giant database plan 'Orwellian'". BBC. October 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17. Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: "The government's Orwellian plans for a vast database of our private communications are deeply worrying." "I hope that this consultation is not just a sham exercise to soft-soap an unsuspecting public."