‘Expansion of internet surveillance a breach of civil liberties’ – Ritchie

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Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has expressed concern about a proposed move by Home Secretary Theresa May to introduce the Communications Capabilities Development Programme which will enable the security services to have increased access to internet data. Ms Ritchie was speaking following the announcement that the Home Office is considering bringing forward measures to expand the surveillance of and access to internet data. Talking to Newry Times, Ritchie said, “The SDLP fiercely guards the notion of civil liberties and is opposed to any proposals that would grant the security services greater access to citizen’s internet data. It will be very difficult to police such measures and the danger is that those who use the internet for legitimate, non-criminal purposes will have their privacy infringed. The Home Office has said that only suspected terrorists, paedophiles or serious criminals will be investigated but it is unclear how that assessment will be made and what burden of evidence will be required. There is a real question mark over how this data, if accessed, will be monitored and stored.” “These proposals also have the potential to discourage start-up technology companies from investing in our market if there is the potential for the British Government to be able to look up their customer’s data. Put simply, the idea of blanket surveillance is totally at odds with the notion of a free and liberal society,” Ritchie added.
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