First 'Snoopers' Charter'
The Labour Government proposes an order which would give hundreds of bodies, including local councils, access to records of emails, phone calls and other communications without a court order. Liberty dubs it a ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ and it is swiftly withdrawn following a public uproar.
Slimmed down Charter is passed
A slimmed down version of the first ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ is passed, with a smaller list of agencies allowed to use surveillance powers under RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000).
Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook
Google Maps goes live
Home Office enforces mandatory data retention
The Home Office uses the UK presidency of the EU to push through mandatory retention of communications data (already retained for billing or commercial purposes) for between 6 and 24 months.
Twitter is launched
Communications Data Bill proposed
In May 2008, the Government published its draft legislative programme for 2008/09, which included proposals for a Communications Data Bill as part of the Government’s Interception Modernisation Programme.
Following a public outcry, plans for a centralised database are hastily dropped in favour of a series of industry controlled mini-databases.
Nick Clegg speaks out
Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg says of the Labour Government: "…it is this Government that has turned the British public into the most spied upon on the planet".
Home Office launches consultation, Liberty responds
The Home Office launches its consultation ‘Protecting the Public in a Changing Communications Environment’. Having rejected plans for a centralised database, the resulting proposals strongly resemble the current Draft Communications Data Bill.
Liberty publishes a detailed response to the Home Office Consultation, stating that the Draft Bill amounts to nothing less than blanket surveillance of the population at large.
David Cameron responds in opposition
The Rt Hon David Cameron makes the following statement during opposition, "Today we are in danger of living in a control state. Every month over 1,000 surveillance operations are carried out. The tentacles of the state can even rifle through your bins for juicy information."
Poll reveals public views on surveillance in the UK
In July 2009 a Liberty-YouGov poll finds that 77% of those questioned believed the UK has become a surveillance society. This is 20% more than those questioned two years previously.
Labour shelves plans
In light of widespread opposition, Labour shelves plans for a ‘Communications Data Bill'.
It becomes a requirement in the UK to retain data for 1 year
UK-based Communication Service Providers are now required to hold certain information about their customers' use of communications for a one year period (e.g. data that they collect to send you an itemised phone bill). This represents a shift from targeted monitoring on the basis of individual suspicion to the indiscriminate stockpiling of private data. For these reasons courts in Germany, Romania and the Czech Republic have found similar arrangements to be unconstitutional.
Coalition Government pledge
The Coalition Government pledges to "end the storage of internet and email records without good reason".
Facebook and Twitter growth
Facebook users in the UK estimated at 30 million.
Twitter users estimated at 10 million.
UK internet usage
The UK now has 51,442,100 Internet users (82.5% of the population).
UK mobile phones
There are now more mobile phones in the UK than people.
Amends to RIPA
The Protection of Freedoms Act amends RIPA to require local councils to get judicial authorisation before accessing communications data. Whilst Liberty welcomed this change, less than 0.5% of applications for access to Communications data come from local authorities – other public bodies are left to self-authorise access to this intrusive personal data.
Proposals announced in the Queen’s Speech
Proposals for a Draft Communications Data Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech.
Draft Bill review Committee is announced
The membership of the Joint Committee of MPs and Peers tasked with scrutinising the Draft Bill is announced.
Liberty provides evidence
Liberty gives oral evidence to the Draft Communications Data Bill Committee.
Liberty publishes its Submission to the Committee
Liberty publishes its Submission to the Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill.
Public opposition grows
Nearly 20,000 members of the public email the Committee to express their opposition to the Draft Communications Data Bill.
Commissioners report reveals errors
The Interception of the Communications Commissioner’s latest report states that in 2011 public authorities submitted 494,078 requests for communications data. During 2011, 895 communications data errors were reported, including 99 identified by the Commissioner’s Office from the small sample of cases reviewed.
The report revealed that inaccurate information provided by a communications service provider led to two people being wrongly arrested and detained for crimes last year.
Party conference season
Party conference season. Politicians from all three parties make statements against the snooping proposals at Liberty fringe events.
Help us stop the Snoopers' Charter
Now: This new law is being considered right now. We have stopped this proposal before and we can stop it again.