UK Government Pays Telcos £18.5M For Records Retention
The Government has paid £18.5 million over five years to telecoms firms for access to data about citizens' use of phones and the internet. The figures took a sharp upturn in 2006 and last year reached £8.3 million.
In 2003 Parliament agreed a code of practice for the retention of communications data by the telecoms industry. The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act (ATCSA) of 2001 and the EU's 2007 Data Retention Directive both made it possible for the Government to pay grants to service providers to cover the cost of keeping that data though they did not demand payment.
Security minister Admiral Lord West has released information about the amounts the Government has paid in grants to telcoms firms for keeping that data.
In 2007 10 grants were made totalling £8.3 million. In the first year of the scheme, 2004, four grants were made which accounted for just £84,582 in total. In the first seven months of this year £4.1 million was paid out in five grants.