In preparing for a data communications Bill in November’s Queen Speech, the Home Office is investigating the idea of a communications database. The government, which has already implemented the European Union’s Data Retention Directive (whereby telecommunication companies are required to keep records for 12 months of all calls made and text messages sent), is looking to extend this to include email and website visits. This is to be coupled with the haunting prospect of it all being gathered together in a database for easy governmental access, so that they may ‘protect us’.
We should be fearful of the inherent inability for the information to remain secure in their hands. This database would hold even more sensitive data (how many emails contain credit card details?) available for them to lose, data that could allow local governments to spy on our behaviour. The potential for blackmail or cash for access to that data is greatly enhanced as well. This creeping introduction of the ‘Big Brother’ state is nothing more than a reflection of a complete misinterpretation of the natural order of society. As the Labour government’s introduced legislation fails, they seek to control us via the concept of database management and its systematic appeal. They do so because they wish to create a perfect, stable un-natural order.
Currently we live under a system of continual surveillance, and have done since the 1970s. It is light in touch and the government’s use of it is held in check by the judicial system. ECHELON, which screens all telephone and email communication for any incriminating phrases, is a listening service that is at the government’s disposal so that it may deal with any potential threats to our security. This governments desire to understand and re-order us means that ECHELON is of little use to them. We could all inevitably face being entered in a database. Thankfully though, there are only 709 days left for us to live under this cloud. If there wasn’t a chance to vote for a change of direction we would, more probably than not, be turned into bar-code branded numbers.