The Intercept Modernisation Programme has reared its ugly head again. Earlier in the year the plan was apparently scrapped after it was proved that this huge database project flew in the face of EU legislation. All Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecoms companies will be required, by law, to store contact details of every phone call, text, E-Mail, and web-site we all visit.
This has now been modified so that private companies, not the government will own the databases and the government will reimburse them the costs for holding the data. It is being set up under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) supposedly enacted to fight terrorism.
We wrote about this on 10 Apr this year here just before the government shelved it. That shelving it has emerged was only temporary.
What it means is that some 635 public bodies will have access to this data, without requiring the permission of a judge. All it will take is the say so of a senior functionary. Apart from the intelligence services the police, Financial Services Authority, local councils, prison governors and even fire/ambulance authorities will be able to use the databases as well as a whole plethora of other faceless bureaucrats.
This is such a huge collection of data and is of such concern that even our own Information Commissioner’s Office is against the project.
The government are pressing ahead with this even though they will not be able to complete this before the next election. This should tell us all that the Tories will just pick up this ball, which is a direct assault on the privacy of everyone in this country, and run with it.
On previous performance we should not trust government of any persuasion to be behind such a scheme. Especially with anyone in government having access to this powerful tool. Although the intelligence services state that they require this for the war on terror, just look at what happened with the anti-terrorist laws, which ended up being misused to track errant dog owners and school catchment area fraudsters.
This attack on our liberty must be fought at every level. This is the sort of project Stalin would have started if he'd had the technology and he would have revelled in it.