London, April 28 (ANI): The British Home Secretary has scrapped plans for a public database, but has asked communications firms to monitor and record all internet contacts between people.
According to a report by BBC News, announcing a consultation on a new strategy for communications data and its use in law enforcement, Jacqui Smith said there would be no single government-run database.
But, Smith but wants details to be held and organised for security services.
The new system would track all e-mails, phone calls and Internet use, including visits to social network sites.
Communications data is an essential tool for law enforcement agencies to track murderers and paedophiles, save lives and tackle crime.
But, Smith also said that "doing nothing" in the face of a communications revolution was not an option.
The Home Office will instead ask communications companies - from internet service providers to mobile phone networks - to extend the range of information they currently hold on their subscribers and organize it so that it can be better used by the police, MI5 and other public bodies investigating crime and terrorism.
Ministers say they estimate the project will cost 2 billion pounds to set up, which includes some compensation to the communications industry for the work it may be asked to do.
"Communications data is an essential tool for law enforcement agencies to track murderers, paedophiles, save lives and tackle crime," Smith said.
"Advances in communications mean that there are ever more sophisticated ways to communicate and we need to ensure that we keep up with the technology being used by those who seek to do us harm," she explained.It is essential that the police and other crime fighting agencies have the tools they need to do their job, However to be clear, there are absolutely no plans for a single central store," she added.
Communication service providers (CSPs) will be asked to record Internet contacts between people, but not the content, similar to the existing arrangements to log telephone contacts.
The CSPs will also be asked to record some third party data or information partly based overseas, such as visits to an online chatroom and social network sites like Facebook or Twitter.
Security services could then seek to examine this data along with information which links it to specific devices, such as a mobile phone, home computer or other device, as part of investigations into criminal suspects. (ANI)