UK Govt. to monitor social networking sites for security reasons

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Washington, Mar. 25 (ANI): The UK government could soon start monitoring and saving web-profiles of millions of British social networking site users as part of its security upgradation endeavor.

"Social networking sites, such as MySpace or Bebo, are not covered by the directive. That is one reason why the Government are looking at what we should do about the intercept modernisation programme because there are certain aspects of communications which are not covered by the directive," The Independent quoted British Home Office minister Vernon Coaker, as saying.

The idea to police MySpace, Bebo and Facebook comes on top of plans to store information about every phone call, email and Internet visit made by everyone in the United Kingdom.

Some 25 million Britons, which are almost half the total population, are thought to use social networking sites.

Already, the ministers face civil liberties outcry over the plans, with accusations of excessive snooping on the private lives of law-abiding citizens.

Soon after the July 2005 train blasts in London, the European Union had directed for emails and internet usage to be monitored, but technological boom during the last three years have increased the security loopholes on net even more.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Tom Brake said: "Plans to monitor our phone and email records threaten to be the most expensive snooper's charter in history. It is deeply worrying that they now intend to monitor social networking sites which contain very sensitive data like sexual orientation, religious beliefs and political views."

Isabella Sankey, policy director at Liberty, said: "The proposed central communications database is a terrifying prospect. It would allow the Government to record every email, text message and phone call and would turn millions of innocent Britons into permanent suspects."

Richard Clayton, a computer security expert at Cambridge University, said: "What they are doing is looking at who you communicate with and who your friends are, which is greatly intrusive into your private life." (ANI)

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