Home Secretary puts her arm around Big Brother

The Government is pressing ahead with plans to create a giant database of mobile phone and internet activity.
The proposed database will provide police and intelligence services with details of mobile phone calls, emails and internet sites visited. The actual content of the phone calls and messages won’t be recorded, just the dates, duration and location/IP address of messages sent.

The Home Secretary claims the database is vital to combat crimes as wide ranging as terrorism and paedophilia. “Our ability to intercept communications and obtain communications data is vital to fighting terrorism and combating serious crime, including child sex abuse, murder and drugs trafficking,” Jacqui Smith claims.

“Communications data – that is, data about calls, such as the location and identity of the caller, not the content of the calls themselves – is used as important evidence in 95% of serious crime cases and in almost all security service operations since 2004.”

She even suggested that child murderers such as Ian Huntley could escape detection without such a scheme. “We will lose this vital capability that we currently have and that, to a certain extent, we all take for granted.

“The capability that enabled us to convict Ian Huntley for the Soham murders and that enabled us to achieve the convictions of those responsible for the 21/7 terrorist plots against London.”

Opposition parties have labelled the plans oppressive. “The Government’s Orwellian plans for a vast database of our private communications are deeply worrying,” Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, told the BBC.

“I hope that this consultation is not just a sham exercise to soft-soap an unsuspecting public.”

The scope of the Government’s plans could extend beyond mobile phone networks and ISPs. A Whitehall spokesman quoted in The Guardian said the Government is increasingly concerned about webmail services and social networks, where people can communicate in relative anonymity.

“People have many accounts and sign up as Mickey Mouse and no one knows who they are,” the spokesman claims. “We have to do something.”

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