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New regulations that came into force last week - requiring telephone and internet companies to keep logs of what numbers are called, and which websites and email services and internet telephony contacts are made - have left some wondering if investigative journalism, with its need to protect sources (and its sources' need, often, for protection), has been dealt a killer blow.
Worries focus on the fact that every government department, local council and even quango can access this telephone and internet data, given a judge's clearance. What will they use it for? To investigate everything from treason to flytipping. Might it also be used to find out who has been tipping off a journalist on a local paper about the misdeeds of local councillors? That's the concern.
"I would say that investigative reporting is desperately threatened by what this government is doing. I've been thinking a long time about how to stay one step ahead of the game," says the Brighton-based investigative journalist Duncan Campbell (not the reporter of the same name on this paper).
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Is the government reading your e-mail? NOW reports on new evidence suggesting the existence of a secret government program that intercepts millions of private e-mails each day in the name of terrorist surveillance.
News about the alleged program came to light when a former AT&T employee, Mark Klein, blew the whistle on what he believes to be a large-scale installation of secret Internet monitoring equipment deep inside AT&T's San Francisco office. The equipment, he contends, was created at the request of the U.S. Government to spy on e-mail traffic across the entire Internet. Though the government and AT&T refuse to address the issue directly, Klein backs up his charges with internal company documents and personal photos.
Criminal Defense Lawyer Nancy Hollander, who represents several Muslim-Americans, feels her confidential e-mails are anything but secure. "I've personally never been afraid of my government until now. And now I feel personally afraid that I could be locked up tomorrow," she tells NOW. Who might be eyeing the hundreds of millions of e-mails Americans send out each day, and to what end?
Yes we are all so scared that terrorists might Email us some spam or something , So why not let the government take away our civil liberties our right to privacy . That really makes sense , Just how stupid does the government think the people are . By the way what the hell is a terrorists someone that insight terror , because the gover[n]ment is trying to use fear based dogma to sell us this Bull Sh1t about terrorists , sounds like there trying to instill terror to the masses . What BS , I have only ever seen State Sponsored terrorism in the media , and nothing el[s]e . If I truly didn't want my emails being intercepted by terrorists then I better not let the government get hold of them, thats for sure.
A former state security analyst has questioned the "prevention" approach to cyber terrorism proposed by the federal government.
New counter-terrorism measures being developed by the government, including changes to the Telecommunications Act, would allow companies to monitor the emails and internet communications of employees without their consent.
The act currently only allows security agencies to monitor employees' internet activities.
Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the new laws, which would only apply to businesses critical to the economy such as the stock exchange or electricity grid, would help protect Australia's critical infrastructure from cyber attack.
new world order coming slowly if i were to sat 20 + years ago the goverment will put cctv in towns and citys'etc and be able to track your every move and read and listen to phone calls and email if they were going to this all in one go there would be a uproar but gradually - John , stokton, durham
So they allow millions of potential terrorists into our country and we have to pay the price by being spied on? I hate what this country and the rest of europe has become and I know many feel the same. What can we do about it? all we ever do is talk but never take any action. - Sion, kent, uk
So we now live behind th bamboo curtain. Why on earth do the government want so much control over it's citizens, are they not aware that all the trouble with gangs is from a feeling of dis-enfranchisement. We never chose him and hardly any of us agree with any of his decicions concerning our lives. - L. Metcalfe, Brighton,
Former AT&T technician Mark Klein and internet expert Brian Reid describe an NSA listening room that Klein discovered while working at the company's operations center. In "Spying on the Home Front" FRONTLINE talks to intelligence insiders [...]
Reporter Hedrick Smith presents new material on how the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program works and examines clashing viewpoints on whether the President has violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and infringed on constitutional protections.
In another dramatic story, the program shows how the FBI vacuumed up records on 250,000 ordinary Americans who chose Las Vegas as the destination for their Christmas-New Year's holiday, and the subsequent revelation that the FBI has misused National Security Letters to gather information.
Probing such projects as Total Information Awareness, and its little known successors, Smith discloses that even former government intelligence officials now worry that the combination of new security threats, advances in communications technologies, and radical interpretations of presidential authority may be threatening the privacy of Americans.