The British Government seems to be abandoning the idea of one, huge Big Brother Database containing records of everyone’s phone call, emails and website visits.
Instead, the Home Office will ask communications companies, from internet service providers to mobile phone networks, to extend the amount of information they hold on their subscribers and organise it so that it can be used by the police, MI5 and other public bodies investigating crime and terrorism.
Another way, or pretext, for Councils to ‘snoop’ in what has been described as powers more intrusive than any police state in history.
Ministers estimate the project will cost £2bn to set up, which includes compensation to the communications industry for the work it may be asked to do.
Although the idea is not to keep details of actual conversations, content of emails sent or received or actions carried out on a particular website, it will still provide a lot of information which could be misused for whatever reason.
Social websites could provide the authorities with an immense wealth of information about an individual. It is somewhat disturbing to think that it would be possible for some jobsworth, perhaps with a grudge, could end up knowing who your friends are, where they are, when you contacted them etc etc.
Also, and it is not unlikely, imagine you’re searching the internet for something and, as can happen quite easily, you end up on a totally inappropriate site, maybe one containing child pornography. It can happen, not all sites are as innocent as they purport to be or are specifically designed to mislead.
Should you then be subject to any sort of investigation, you are quite likely to be labelled a paedophile. No doubt your known friends would then also fall ‘under suspicion’. Not as far-fetched as it may sound. Whatever happened to privacy? Why this government obsession with surveillance, snooping, turning people on one another?
No doubt if an MP is found to have phoned for a porno movie, called a friend of dubious character or visited an inappropriate website, the Official Secrets Act or National Interest will be invoked.
Time to fill in that petition! We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resign.