Fast-forward a few years and I remember working on an IT contract in Lancashire which involved installing routers on ISDN lines. They were a precursor to the ADSL lines and, whilst not massively quick connections, they were better than dial-up speeds.
Perhaps the best part of that contract, apart from driving around the beautiful towns and villages, was watching the faces of kids in schools. Sure, they had a computer or two, but none had a connection to the web. In some villages, where the class and school sizes were tiny, I would be plugging just one computer in. The look of amazement when children fired up a webcam and connected with other small Primary schools around the county was something I’ll never forget.
Since then though, the internet has morphed. A desktop PC is a rare thing in the home and we’re giving away our lives through social networking and free-to-use apps and services that track your movement and activity. Checking my Google location history is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s scary what Google knows about me, yet somehow I’ve accepted it.
Now, according to a leaked document, the UK government has apparently proposed the “live” surveillance of your internet connection. A draft paper shows how users in Britain could have their internet activity monitored in real time. Civil liberties body the Open Rights Group has stated that, although this would need to be sanctioned firm, ISPs would have to assist under the terms of the Investigatory Powers Act.
According to the leak there’s a consultation under way and this will come to a head on May 19th. Should it go ahead, it’ll mean that your activities will be monitored. Whether you’re looking at a porn on your PC or about to play casino on mobile, it’s going to get tracked.
There’s some minor caveats. First, this is a leak and it’s not confirmed. Secondly, the live monitoring will be limited to one in every 10,000 customers per ISP.
The government don’t have to comment about draft regulations, but a BT spokesman has told the BBC that they had….
A copy of draft regulations, to be made under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, in relation to technical capability notices
Although this kind of technology would allow better monitoring of upcoming terrorist acts being planned on the web, it’s another part of the changes that have happened to your internet feed over the years. Right now, on this very internet connection you’re using right now, traffic is being managed and controlled by your ISP. They will know how much you’re downloading, how much you’re streaming and whether you’re using BitTorrent etc.
It’s a scary new world.