Home > Our Products > Government Sponsored Online Tracking May Compromise Privacy

Government Sponsored Online Tracking May Compromise Privacy

A new legislation passed by theUKgovernment sanctions the legal tracking of all the social media activities of users, along with the emails and other internet activities, in the country. The government has sanctioned this bill in a view that this tracking will help the law enforcement authorities in keeping track of criminals and terrorists who are increasingly making use of social media platforms to co-ordinate and execute their misdeeds.

But this does raise some serious questions about the social media privacy of the other users. If there was a database which contained all the data regarding the online behavior of a person, another person with access to that has the potential to misuse it. Anything from robbery, kidnapping and blackmailing to online fraud, can be possible. The bill faced a lot of opposition from the libertarian Conservatives but it remains to be seen how the data will be regulated.

Accessing Details,but Not  Content

Tom Brake, one of the top Libertarian officials, said that they were not exactly against online tracking, but believe that a level of discretion has to be maintained while doing so. The current proposal might cost millions of dollars for the government as they have to keep a record of all the content flowing through the internet. He suggested an alternative where the officials made provisions to track the details of the sender and recipient of the message and the location from which it was sent. If the behavior seems suspicious, then the contents of the communication should be accessed and analyzed for any potential threat to national security.

Government Requests Being Turned Down By Companies

There is a law which states that telephone companies, mobile service providers and ISPs have to provide data which they maintain to keep track of the customers bills. But these companies do not keep track of the content which their customers access because it’s a violation the customers’ privacy rights.

But government requests these days increasingly border on content related queries, which the companies cannot provide for a simple reason that they essentially do not have it. Company officials said that  more than 25% of the requests are being turned down because the company does not have the data to provide to the authorities. This is one of the reasons why the government is so keen on having its own tracking database.

Access to Personal Information without a Warrant?

Previously, theUKgovernment and law enforcement authorities had to apply for a warrant before accessing personal information. But if the new bill is implemented, it would mean the data would be at their fingertips and they can access it even if they have a shred of doubt. Lawmakers claim that extreme discretion would be maintained in this matter. But as time goes on, the people who are responsible might become a little more lenient, trying to make things easy. In the name of clearing doubts and establishing authenticity, social media and online privacy might be totally destroyed.

Other Possible Solutions to This Dilemma

The existing method seems fine for tracking online activities of people. Furthermore, there can be a bill implemented to facilitate implementation of an infrastructure solely meant for this purpose. This will allow the authorities to track people of interest only, on the internet and gather data. But a proper protocol has to be established in terms of determining who those people would be.

Although this bill is in its initial stages, there might come a time when there is a database which has information about all your online activity. So even if you have taken measures to stop cookies/tracking online, you might still be under government surveillance.

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