In the news this week, what civil liberties groups are calling the ‘snoopers’s charter’. A proposal by the UK government to monitor and even store our contact information from social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Whilst much of this information is in the public domain, some is ‘regulated’ by our own right to share or not share personal information with those we don’t know. And given several government department’s recent track record, ‘losing’ sensitive personal data, most UK citizens have every right to feel worried about the Home Office ‘safeguarding’ our private information in a central database.

Derived from an EU directive (again) opinion will be split between those who believe such monitoring is needed to ‘protect’ us from crime gangs intent on fraud and would be terror attacks, and those who beleive the cost to our civil liberties is too high. And any discussion should also reference the recent a backgrop of the findings of the parliamentary committee on police heavy handedness. Police were accused of using new ‘anti-terrorism’ powers to intimidate, film and even ‘assault’ both peaceful protesters and journalists. Looking ahead to the forthcoming G20 summit, you can get a good overview of your rights and both sides of the arguement by reading or listening to Pocket Issue, Big brother: who is watching you? by Joseph O’Neil.

A snooper’s charter?