Privacy added to endangered species list, to be extinct by 2010

24 October 2008

Over 4 million CCTV cameras pry into our daily lives, without a significant reduction in crime or a corresponding increase in convictions. Now the Government is considering the creation of a super database - or an uberbase as we've just christened it in the last few seconds - that holds details of all our phone and internet usage. Understandably people are getting upset, including the body created by the Government to safeguard our privacy rights. That's got to be a worrying sign.

While law enforcement agencies can already request companies hand over details of calls and online activity on a case-by-case basis, ministers are considering creating the Government-run uberbase to house records centrally for up to two years, as part of the Government's proposed Communications Data Bill.

Interestingly enough, the Information Commissioner's Office, an independent watchdog created to protect our privacy, isn't happy with any of it: "Creating huge databases containing personal information is never a risk-free option as it is not possible to fully eliminate the danger that the data will fall into the wrong hands," said the ICO in a recent statement.

The assistant Information Commissioner was a little terser in his words earlier in the year, stating: "We are not aware of any justification for the state to hold every UK citizen’s phone and internet records."

While the data would only record activity and not content, it's worth noting that Home Office sources report that ministers worried about communications taking place within social networking sites, and feel that law enforcement authorities should have access to that data too.

This is your fault, Orwell. Why couldn't you have wrote books about rainbow unicorns and space fairies instead of totalitarian rule? Damn your eyes, man.

[out-law.com]

TOPICS:   Privacy

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