Concerns regarding the Government’s ability to monitor social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been voiced by a former head of Government intelligence agency GCHQ.
Sir David Omand has said that social networks are being used as a “secret space” in which criminals, terrorists and paedophiles can thrive.
The Queen’s Speech is expected to outline Government proposals to grant police and intelligence officers real-time access to communications via social media.
Sir David Omand co-wrote a report for research institute Demos and put across findings suggesting that intelligence gathered from social sites, including blogs, could be used to monitor safety and security in an “effective and ethical” manner.
Demos also recommended that the Government should consult on how to manage social media intelligence “in the public interest” and suggested that a “Centre of Excellence” could be set up to co-ordinate social media intelligence policy and funding.
However, the report also warned against alienating the public in order to avoid a ”chilling effect” on social media which could have dire consequences.
Interestingly, it has been reported that the amount of people in the UK who feel that the police should be able to access information on social networking sites when investigations are taking place currently stands at 40%.
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