An alarming pattern is beginning to surface in the UK. Last week users of Virgin Media was cut off access to Pirate Bay (read workaround here) and now the Queens speech to Parliament revealed plans to enable real time monitoring of UK Internet traffic.
During her first speech to Parliament in 2 years the Queen said:
“My government intends to bring forward measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public, subject to scrutiny of draft clauses.”
Basically every piece of web traffic, email, Skype conversation and download can be monitored from GCHQ, which is the third intelligence service in charge of Internet security.
Of course this is aimed at cracking down on criminals, theorists, pedophiles and other scum, but this brings up the old question of justifying the means. The Brits might be used to surveillance in the form of CCTV, but this is taking it a bit further.
When we are talking online privacy concerns it is normally a question about wording in Facebook and Googles end user agreements and the like. In the west we are not used to this new trend of emerging Internet censorship and surveillance. This is normally something reserved for such places as China, Russia and the Middle East.
If the bill is passed GCHQ will be able to tab into data traffic directly from the ISPS data centers. However if you use a VPN connection your data will remain encrypted and GCHQ wont be able to monitor the traffic. Read more about protecting your online privacy here: Learn how to Surf Undetected