In the United Kingdom, the latest figures on communications surveillance were published last week. They showed that in 2011, 494,078 requests for communications data were made by authorities. Communications data include IP addresses, the date and time a communication was sent, and location information—but not the actual content of a call, text, or email. Still high at about 1,300 per day and almost one per minute, the 494,078 requests in fact represented a decline of 11 percent from the previous year. In direct contrast, perhaps due to the security effort around the upcoming London Olympics, the United Kingdom witnessed a steep rise in warrants authorizing the interception of communications content. 2,911 interception requests were granted—a 73 percent increase on 2010’s reported 1,682.
Southern Poverty Law Center
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