RTE 1.5 million people signed a petition calling for the Internet to be classified as a “communications service” under the Communications (Data) Act of 1988.
This new law would require telecommunications companies to store customer information and metadata for up to two years before the information is used to sell the data to third parties.
It also makes it illegal for telecommunications companies and others to sell customer information to third-parties without the customer’s consent.
The petition was published online by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Internet (CCFI) on Wednesday.
“This change will help keep our information secure, but it will also make us less safe from the growing surveillance state,” said Sam Wurzbach, campaign co-chair of the CCFI.
“The end of this era of ubiquitous spying and data mining will mean an era of increased intrusion into our private lives.”
This change, which would allow telecom companies to collect customer information for two years, is “not just good for consumers, but good for the industry as a whole”, he added.
“I can’t see how this change will actually stop the NSA and GCHQ from collecting data from the internet.
They will still have access to all our data for as long as they want.”
The petition says that the law has been passed in order to protect consumers, protect the privacy of internet users, and ensure that businesses do not have to hand over data to the government without a warrant.
The Government’s draft bill is expected to be passed in parliament in the first week of October, but will have to be revised if it is to pass in the Senate.