With ever-increasing use of the Internet by criminals and terrorists, many governments are pushing for greater surveillance and monitoring powers. However, the issues of surveillance and privacy are fundamentally linked.
In the US, Wired's Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers on Innocent Americans
makes interesting reading, while (somewhat ironically), a Freedom of Information request forced the Department of Homeland Security to Release List of Keywords Used to Monitor Social Networking Sites
In the UK, the controversial Communications Data Bill is one example of the types of power governments are pushing for globally. Do we need the Snooper's Charter to save lives?
(PC Pro) discusses the bill, which was proposed in 2012 as a method of combating terrorism and organised crime.
Governments may also request data about users from search engines, social networks, and other organisations. In the US, National Security Letters sent by the government require the recipient to hand over data on specified individuals, and come with a 'gag-order' that prevents the receipient from discussing the letter. Google is one such recipient who has challenged these National Security Letters in court
on grounds of privacy and freedom of speech.