UK Government's proposals to record all e-mails

  jarsek 00:52 14 Jan 09


I have been hearing on the news recently something that concerns me greatly. It was the item about the government wanting to keep a record of all e-mails sent and received in the UK. Aside from the privacy, moral and legal issues of this action, I kept wondering to myself just how they could possibly effect this if one's mailbox was physically situated in another sovereign nation? For example, my own personal mailboxes are hosted in sunny California whilst my and boxes I imagine are hosted in the grand ol' USA too! Surely it would not be possible to record / monitor e-mails whose boxes are outside the UK? Any thoughts on this?

  Forum Editor 01:11 14 Jan 09

click here

For the record, the government has no intention of keeping a record of all emails at all. The idea is that all email traffic across the UK internet would be monitored - security agencies will use sophisticated software to look for specific content.

The location of a mailbox is irrelevant - the messages will be scanned as they travel to and from their destinations, both within UK borders and across them. There'll be no raiding of mailboxes.

  jarsek 01:18 14 Jan 09

No I didn't see it :-(

Trying to get my head around the technical side of this... So the monitoring is done at the point my e-mail leaves my ISP on its merry way to any mailbox location? If that is true, and I was a terrorist, would I not just choose to dial in to a foreign ISP?

Thanks for your kindly response...

  interzone55 09:06 14 Jan 09

I asked a similar question in the thread FE linked to, but didn't really get a response.

As far as I can see, emails will be monitored at the ISPs, but if you use a webmail interface, and send to another webmail user then the email will not be sent via any UK ISP's email servers, the traffic will be HTTPS at both ends.

As for terrorists, they won't need to dial into a foreign ISP, they would more likely encrypt all emails, and use anonymous proxies to shield their net use from eavesdroppers.

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