Giant database plan to be set out
Plans to track all e-mails sent, all phone calls made and all internet pages visited in the UK are to be unveiled by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
Ministers say the move is needed so police and the security services can investigate crime and terrorism.
The Interception Modernisation Programme may include a giant database to store billions of details.
Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said:"We must not allow ourselves to become a Big Brother society."
The consultation about the programme, which is to track details of when and where electronic communications are made but not their content, has already been delayed.
Ministers say it is merely intended to update powers which already exist for ordinary phone calls to cover data and information online - such as internet-based phone calls.
Details of the times, dates, duration and locations of mobile phone calls, numbers called, websites visited and addresses e-mailed are already stored by telecommunications companies for 12 months under a voluntary agreement.
It is a hallmark of free societies that whilst the police target criminal suspects, government does not monitor the entire population
Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty
The data can be accessed by police on request but the government said it planned to take control of the process in order to comply with an EU directive and make it easier for investigators to do their job.
Information would be kept for two years by law and may be held centrally on a searchable database.
When the idea of the database emerged last year the Liberal Democrats called the idea of a giant database "Orwellian".
Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty, said: "It is a hallmark of free societies that whilst the police target criminal suspects, government does not monitor the entire population."
Former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald said: "This database would be an unimaginable hell house of personal private information. It would be a complete read-out of every citizen's life in the most intimate and demeaning detail.
FURTHER TO MY POSTING ON THIS SUBJECT
It has been drawn to my attention that - - -"Sweden is going to ignore the EU data retention directive but the UK, in its infinite wisdom, is not. Why? I a tiny little country (in terms of political influence) like Sweden dare to challenge the EU why is the UK trembling at the mere notion of doing? (Comment on Tory Diary/ConservativeHome)
If this is so I was wrong to say that the impossible British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was making "an admission by government that they are merely obeying orders from Brussels" If this is so it is Brown's government gathering ever more powers into its hands and USING the EU as a shield and smokescreen, so as to let them take the blame. Somewhat cowardly.
Either way, it's still nasty.
On 27 Apr 2009, at 10:28, Christina Speight wrote:
Here is - for once - an admission by government that they are merely obeying orders from Brussels and an example of how we no longer rule ourselves. Normally, while taking orders, government tries to maintain the fiction that it is their policy. Here the mask has dropped for a second. It's all " to comply with an EU directive "
This proposal is totally illiberal and authoritarian but as usual it comes unheralded out of the blue.
Back here we are - rightly - concerned about the dreadful mess our government has made of our country. But meanwhile our enemies in Brussels never sleep and here’s an example!