Database idea raises public security fears


3 said last week it would not support Government proposals to establish a database of every phone call made and email sent in an effort to combat terrorism.
In recent weeks, networks have been approached by the Government with the proposals, which come under the Communications Bill of the Government’s draft legislative programme for 2008-2009.
Telecoms companies would be required to pass their customer records to the Home Office should the Bill become law. The information would be stored for at least 12 months and the database would be available to police across Europe, with court permission.
The proposals have prompted concerns about public security.
A 3 spokesperson said: “We would not, at this stage, be able to support the proposals for a number of reasons, including concerns about whether the measures are proportionate, appropriate and necessary.
“We remain committed to lawfully assisting the Government in its fight against terrorism and serious crime. But we wish to ensure any proposals are compatible with applicable law, are justified, not excessive, effective and workable, and which protect the right to privacy of our customers and the security of their data.
“At this stage it is not clear that what the Government is considering would meet these requirements, address our concerns, or meet the objectives set out in the Government’s Draft Legislative Programme for 2008.”
An Orange spokesperson said: “We understand that these proposals are in the early stages of planning and therefore it would not be appropriate to comment further.”
Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2 also declined to comment.