Big Brother is Watching You Surf the Web

If you browse Cthulhu fetish sites in the comfort of your own home, who’s going to know? You can clear your browser history and secure your home network, but that doesn’t mean your late night Lovecraftian lust sessions are safe from prying eyes. A new nationalized database system could let the British government know exactly how you’re spending your online time, as well as your email and cell phone contacts.Telecom companies in the UK already store mobile and web information, including which numbers you call, which websites you visit, and which addresses you email, for 12 months. This information is already available to government investigators on demand, but the government wants to nationalize the database to make it readily searchable and hold the information for two years. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith defends the proposal as essential to criminal investigations:

"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. "But the communications revolution has been rapid in this country and the way in which we intercept communications and collect communications data needs to change too. "If it does not we will lose this vital capability that we currently have and that, to a certain extent, we all take for granted.


But some are suspicious of the Home Department’s motives:

Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: "The government's Orwellian plans for a vast database of our private communications are deeply worrying… "Ministers claim the database will only be used in terrorist cases, but there is now a long list of cases, from the arrest of Walter Wolfgang for heckling at a Labour conference to the freezing of Icelandic assets, where anti-terrorism law has been used for purposes for which it was not intended."

Perhaps it's time to step up the development of ParanoidLinux. Giant database plan 'Orwellian' [via Kurzweil]

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