Half of the public think Communications Data Bill is poor value for money and a strong majority say they do not trust that the data about internet use will be kept secure, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by Big Brother Watch.

50% of the public believe that the Government’s draft Communications Data Bill is bad value for money. The Bill, which is currently being assessed by Parliament, would require companies to store details of UK internet use for a year to be accessed by police and intelligence services. This includes details on who sends and receives messages on social media sites, the websites they visit and who they email but it does not include the content of the messages.

The Bill would be funded by public expenditure and is estimated to cost around £1.8 billion over 10 years from 2012. Only one in eight people (12%) say the Bill is good value for money.

Insecurity of Data

At present, the Bill proposes to give access of the data to the Police, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, the intelligence agencies and HM Revenue and Customs, with the potential to extend these powers to other bodies. Almost three-quarters (71%) of Britons say they do not trust that the data about internet use will be kept secure, with less than one in five (19%) people rejecting this claim.

Internet usage

Although over four in ten (41%) people said they would be less likely to use online services and websites if they knew their activity was being recorded, almost half (48%) of Britons said this would make no difference.

Nick Pickles, Director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “While the real criminals take simple steps to hide their activity, the law would require every single’s person’s emails and messages to be monitored and the public are right to be concerned that the data won’t be kept secure.”

Big Brother Watch is a campaign group that seeks to challenge policies that threaten privacy, freedoms and civil liberties, and to investigate the true scale of the surveillance state.


See the full survey details and results here

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