Monday, 20 October 2008

Big Brother Society comes ever closer

The Big Brother Society comes ever closer with an anticipated compulsory mobile phone register being set for introduction in the draft Communications Data Bill next year

Everyone who buys one of Britain’s 72Million mobile telephones will be forced to register their identity on a national database under government plans to extend massively the powers of state surveillance, all of course under cover of moves to combat terrorism and crime. The move is targeted at monitoring the owners of Britain’s estimated 40m prepaid mobile phones. They can be purchased with cash by customers who do not wish to give their names, addresses or credit card details.

GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre in Cheltenham has already been provided with up to £1 billion to work on the pilot stage of the Big Brother database, which will see thousands of “black boxes” installed on communications lines provided by Vodafone and BT as part of a pilot interception programme.

Senior officials in the Home Office have privately warned that the database scheme is impractical, disproportionate and potentially unlawful. However, looking at other decisions of this government it doesn’t seem they worry too much about what is legal or lawful. Of course the old “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about” brigade will be out in force to defend the move. How about defending our civil liberties, our right to a private life or just our rights to live without the government watching our every move, reading our every e-mail and now listening to our every mobile phone call.

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