See attached - I'll start another thread about what to do about it: Government unveils 'snooper's charter' by Charles Reiss Political Editor Evening Standard - 11 June 2002 The Government was today accused of a massive new invasion of privacy amid reports that Whitehall, local councils and quangos are to be given the power to monitor the telephone and email records of everyone in Britain. Up to now the right to demand communications records has been limited to the police, the intelligence services, Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue. However, proposals to be put before the Commons next week would widen that right to include seven Whitehall departments, every local council in the country, health service bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland and other organisations ranging from fire authorities to the Food Standards Agency. Under the rules, any of those organisations would be able, without a court order, to compel telephone companies, internet service providers and postal firms to hand over key information on individuals. The details include name and address, all phone calls or emails made and received, with their source and destination, and which websites have been visited on the internet. Departments and local councils would also be able to demand mobile phone location data, which can reveal the caller's whereabouts at any time down to the nearest few hundred metres. The plan was immediately attacked as a snooper's charter and a betrayal of pledges by ministers to protect the right to privacy. Condemning the move, Ian Brown, head of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, an internet think tank, said: "I am appalled at this huge increase in the scope of government snooping. Two years ago we were deeply concerned that these powers were to be given to the police without any judicial oversight. Now they're handing them out to a practically endless queue of bureaucrats in Whitehall and town halls." The government departments given the right to probe include Health, Trade and Industry, Transport, the Home Office, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The weapon was originally granted to the police and the intelligence services under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, passed two years ago. The Home Office argues that the wider authority, which will come into force in August if approved by MPs, is vital to fight terrorism and crime. However, John Wadham, director of Liberty said: "This list demonstrates an issue that many people may not have realised. It is not just the police who will be looking at our communications records, it is practically every public servant who will be able to play this game." The police are able to demand communications details on the authority of any officer of superintendent rank or above. The Government has yet to say what level of local council official will be given the same right. However, the director of Privacy International, Simon Davies, said: "The Home Office has absolutely breached its commitment that this law would not become a general surveillance power for the Government. This amounts to a systematic attack on the right to privacy."