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Cumbria crime commissioner against plans to let police snoop on emails

Cumbria's new police and crime commissioner is opposing Government plans to give police and intelligence services new powers to monitor email and internet use.

Richard Rhodes photo
Richard Rhodes

He supports the view of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who has called for a “fundamental rethink” on the proposals.

Like the Liberal Democrat leader, Richard Rhodes is concerned about such a move being an attack on civil liberties.

And he questioned how intercepting or storing people’s emails “morally compares to phone-tapping”.

He said: “It is dangerous to have a situation where everyone’s emails are stored away and can be accessed.

“I think it is a dangerous assault on the freedom of the individual.

“But how many people believe it happens nowanyway?

“The problem is that terrorists and paedophiles are not bothered about rules and regulations and the state requires the weapons to deal with this.”

The Home Office has said the new laws are needed immediately to stop serious crimes such as terrorism.

Under the plans, internet service providers would have to store details of all online communication in the UK via emails and social networking sites.

This would include the time, duration, originator and recipient of a communication and the location of the device it originated from.

A report by MPs on the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Bill accepts the need for new legislation, but says the Government would be able to demand “limitless categories of data” on internet communications if the draft bill was not amended, and calls for “safeguards” over the new powers to prevent abuse.

Mr Clegg has backed the committee, saying it had raised “a number of serious criticisms – not least on scope, proportionality, cost, checks and balances”.

Have your say

Well done Richard Rhodes, this guy obviously has some idea I'm relieved to say, he deserves praise for speaking up.

Posted by Alex on 22 December 2012 at 12:05

Really RW? If it really is standard Police practice to invade peoples privacy, then they only have themselves to blame for the lack of respect from the public.

Posted by Stemax1960 on 22 December 2012 at 09:19

View all 15 comments on this article

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Is The Autumn Statement good news for Cumbria?

Yes - the enterprise zone jobs and airport flights are a fantastic boost

It's more positive than expected but could have been better

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