Andy Lloyd – Massive Surveillance Database Planned
Did you know that your government has the capability to listen in on every phone call, e-mail, fax and text you make? The entire English-speaking world is covered by a massive surveillance system which sifts through the mind-bogglingly large movements of data and communications every day. The largest computers in the world, stationed at the headquarters of inter-connected agencies such as the NSA, GCHQ (in the UK), DSD (in Australia, CSE (in Canada) and the GCSB (in New Zealand), listen in to just about everything. Their remit: anti-terrorism, external and internal threats, and sometimes even to counter threats to the economies of these countries.
A recent announcement takes this surveillance a step further. Britain is already the surveillance capital of the world. We have closed-circuit TV everywhere (a simple trip to the shops might see you on security cameras a dozen times or more), and the Government has strong powers to obtain information at will to protect our national interests. In general, this situation is accepted, even welcomed by the British public. After all, we don’t like terrorists, and have lived with the threat of terrorism for almost 40 years (the IRA kicked this off for us a long time ago). In the USA, the subject is more sensitive, as the surveillance of the American people arguably runs against the freedoms granted by the Constitution of the United States. But in these difficult times, Homeland Security is King. You are subjects to the State in practical terms, if not on paper.
So what we in the UK do today, you will do tomorrow. This is a bald fact: our security agencies are literally joined at the hip.
In the case of this new legislation, we will see the setting up of a massive database to store records of every phone call and e-mail EVER SENT. The UK Government stops short of storing the content, but the dates, times and recipients of the calls will be logged and kept at the Government’s discretion indefinitely. (They already are held for a year or two).
“Jacqui Smith [the Home Secretary] has set out plans to give the police and security services more powers to gather phone and e-mail data. The home secretary said police risked losing the ability to fight crime and terrorism without new laws. Reports suggest the government wants a single database to store details of every UK phone call and e-mail sent.
“Ms Smith stressed the “content” of e-mails would not be stored but she said consultation would be launched in the New Year on what the new laws would be. Plans to collect more data on people’s phone, e-mail and web-browsing habits are expected to be included in the Communications Data Bill, due to be introduced in the Queen’s Speech in November.” (Credit: BBC News 15/10/08)
They say you can tell a lot about someone from their friends. That’s the idea here: calls or e-mails made to, or received from, dodgy characters will inevitably flag you up as a potential enemy of the State. Perhaps the system may run like a Credit Rating system. Once you communicate with too many ne’er-do-wells, your card is marked by the security services for more intense monitoring. Scary? Well, for better of for worse, it’s coming to a security agency near you REAL SOON!