Big Brother is watching your Facebook page

the government wants to read your private messages

Don’t panic yet but government officials could soon view your private messages and most embarrassing photos if new Home Office proposals make it through parliament.

MPs want to monitor our private social networking pages and website pages as part of a new initiative that they say would be used to tackle crime gangs and terrorists.

The plan to store details of phone calls, emails and websites for tens of millions of users of Facebook, Bebo and Myspace on an official database has caused uproar among civil liberties campaigners who branded the proposals a “snoopers’ charter”.

According to government spokesmen, they have no desire to read our messages just monitor the senders.

But one critic Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said he feared our private information could be potentially leaked from any government-controlled database.

“It is deeply worrying that they now intend to monitor social networking sites which contain very sensitive data like sexual orientation, religious beliefs and political views,” said Tom Brake.

But what you probably don’t realise is that our personal information is already readily available.

The Cabinet office already monitors popular networking sites such as Facebook Netmums, Fixmystreet and MumsNet to see what we are saying about public services.

Phone companies are also currently required to store details of all calls, such as the time and date, location and who made them, for 12 months for possible use in criminal investigations or court cases. A new EU law on the storage of similar Internet data is due come into effect on Monday, 6 April.

Speaking out against the move Shami Chakrabarti, of campaign group Liberty, said it was unacceptable for the government to be able to build up a picture of us without us knowing.

“Just by my web browsing habits, just by which sites I’m visiting, you’ll be able to build up a pretty detailed picture of who I’m associated with. It’s a pretty detailed bit of surveillance about a person, about all individual people, most of whom, let’s be clear about it, are completely innocent.”


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