Every email and website to be stored 4


Tom Whitehead writes in the Daily Telegraph:

Every email, phone call and website visit is to be recorded and stored after the Coalition Government revived controversial Big Brother snooping plans.

It will allow security services and the police to spy on the activities of every Briton who uses a phone or the internet.

Moves to make every communications provider store details for at least a year will be unveiled later this year sparking fresh fears over a return of the surveillance state.

The plans were shelved by the Labour Government last December but the Home Office is now ready to revive them.

It comes despite the Coalition Agreement promised to “end the storage of internet and email records without good reason”.

Any suggestion of a central “super database” has been ruled out but the plans are expected to involve service providers storing all users details for a set period of time.

Alex Deane, writing on the New Statesman web site, comments:

This comes despite the Conservative Party’s recent pledge to reverse the rise of the surveillance state.

I appreciate that this invitation may not be a welcome one for Staggers readers, but if you can bear it, do please have a look at that last link. It’s remarkable that they’ve left the paper on the party’s website; perhaps the thinking (and I say this as a Tory) is that everyone’s so concerned with the Spending Review that nobody will notice the rank hypocrisy?

Whatever the explanation, leaving it up breaks with the long-standing tradition of repainting the commandments on the side of the barn whenever Napoleon changes his mind.

This U-turn can’t be blamed on the formation of the coalition. The Liberal Democrats are (or hitherto have been) admirably sound on the issue and the coalition agreement promised to “end the storage of internet and email records without good reason”.

Couple this with the disgusting U-turn on the Summary Care Record, in which all of our medical records are to be lumped together in one convenient-to-leak, convenient-to-snoop, convenient-to-break database (despite similarly clear and concrete pre-election promises from both governing parties to the contrary), and a troubling picture emerges.

It is fascinating and dreadful to see the speed of bureaucratic capture, the reversion to bureaucratic authoritarianism on show. Intrusions are piling up so fast that my extended essay published last week is already out of date.