Monday, April 2, 2012

Digital surveillance 'practically impossible'

surveillance-tv_1459239c Government plans to access details of every email and website sent in Britain would be an impractical waste of money that would make the UK more like China and Iran, a leading British technology expert has said.

Trefor Davies, Chief Technology Officer at business internet service provider Timico, wrote on that the proposed measures could also drive users underground and make tracking paedophiles and copyright infringers far harder.

“The reality is that it is nigh on impossible to stop people communicating using the internet without being discovered and attempting to develop a system that will do this is not only likely to be wasted money but will be a step towards entering a category of nation currently occupied by the likes of China and Iran”, he said.

He added that plans to allow the government ‘real-time’ access to details of web and email use could drive people to use services that make their entire web use anonymous.

“The problem is that it is too easy to avoid detection on the internet. Proxy services provide anonymity for web users – Google “free proxy server” and you will find 33million results,” said Davies. “A culture of anonymity online means such people could not be targeted for copyright-infringing activities under the Digital Economy Act (eg music downloading) and we would be making it easier for people to go undetected when doing indisputably bad things such as accessing illegal child abuse material. More prosaically, proxy servers are also often the source of malware.”

While Mr Davies conceded that “We could ask ourselves ‘what price avoiding another 9/11?’”, he said the cost of such digital surveillance was “prohibitive”.

The Telegraph

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