Defamation Bill could see online monitoring increase

Concerns raised over online monitoring

A senior associate at a leading law firm has expressed concerns the new Defamation Bill could see monitoring reach levels seen during the London Riots

A Senior Associate at a law firm has expressed concerns to T3 over the new Defamation Bill, suggesting that both innocent and suspected individuals could soon have their Twitter and Facebook accounts monitored.

While the Bill itself wouldn't be a direct cause, Kathryn Wynn from leading law firm Pinsent Masons is concerned with a new stance that is mentioned throughout which suggests there no longer needs to be a clear 'suspect' to justify monitoring.

“It was clear during the riots last year that on-line social media enabled an uncontrollable situation to escalate and that the current interception and data retention rules seemed to be inadequate due to the need to have a 'suspect'.”

“However, this legislation appears to assume that the level of monitoring required on a daily basis is the same level that would be required during a situation as serious as the riots. It is certainly not clear at this stage that accessed information will be confined to the data of suspects, rather than innocent people. The suggestion that all content could be accessed is of particular concern.”

While this could have serious implications for social media users Wynn has suggested that the Bill could in fact be short-lived requiring potential U-turns to comply with upcoming EU laws.

“The proposals put forward by the Government seem to be completely out of step with the general direction of the travel of privacy at a European level and if the current rules are not properly considered, the UK could find itself having to overhaul this legislation in order to comply with the proposed European Union Data Protection Regulation and Directive (due to be implemented in 2014).”