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I’ve got an infinite number of baboons…

Every email, phone call and website visit is to be recorded and stored after the Coalition Government revived controversial Big Brother snooping plans.

Meet the new boss, same as…

It will allow security services and the police to spy on the activities of every Briton who uses a phone or the internet.

Well that’s all of us apart from “Mad” Jock MacMad who lives in a yurt in the outer Hebrides.

Moves to make every communications provider store details for at least a year will be unveiled later this year sparking fresh fears over a return of the surveillance state.

Return?

The plans were shelved by the Labour Government last December but the Home Office is now ready to revive them.

Meet the new boss, same as…

It comes despite the Coalition Agreement promised to “end the storage of internet and email records without good reason“.

“Good reason” covers a multitude of sins. My suspicion here is that this will be used to crack down on benefit cheats and tax evasion. Link this into the defence review with it’s new emphasis on “cyber-attack” and yeah… This isn’t about preventing the Chinese PLA’s First Fighting Laptops crippling critical British infrastructure (Our government will do that all by itself. Thank you Beijing but we can fubar the gaff without your meddling).

Any suggestion of a central “super database” has been ruled out but the plans are expected to involve service providers storing all users details for a set period of time.

Oh gods! Anyone who knows anything about the internet will know that makes no difference. I am typing this in England, the server is in Australia and you could be on Mars.

It carries on in a manner that I’m sure you can guess. Vague references to “law enforcement agencies” which since RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) means everyone down to the council dustman and to “those engaged in activities that cause serious harm” which could of course mean anything. Prepare for the paramilitary wing of the five-a-day co-ordinators to kick down your door at 4 am and seizing your cheese and Theresa pleasuring herself with a root vegetable over your pr0n stash as she May.

The largest manhunt in British criminal history was for the Yorkshire Ripper. Huge quantities of information, interviews, tip-offs and all the rest were collected and back then it was on card indexes. It hampered the enquiry because it was a total information overload. Ah, you say but they now have computers and data-mining techniques and all that. So do we. The quantity of information we are talking about is horrendously larger. If they really want to store details of every tweet, SMS, PM, phone call, VOIP, email, web-site access, download, torrent, file-share… Then they might as well build a total library. Where’s the best practical place to hide a book? Where’s the best conceivable place to hide one? Here. I hope Jorge is having a laugh.

From the Wikipedia article linked above:

In “The Net of Babel”, published in Interzone in 1995, David Langford imagines the Library becoming computerized for easy access. This aids the librarians in searching for specific text while also highlighting the futility of such searches as they can find anything, but nothing of meaning as such. The sequel continues many of Borges’s themes, while also highlighting the difference between data and information, and satirizing the Internet.

I don’t know whether to join Borges in his chuckles or be very afraid.

12 Comments

  1. Lynne says:

    More cast iron U-turn fuckulence from iDave. I suspect that he’ll do it once too often and disappear up his own arse.

    Well one can live in hope…

  2. NickM says:

    Lynne,
    Do you get the same feeling as me about this? Think “Yes, Minister”. iDave pitched-up full of “high sentence but a bit obtuse” and got persuaded by Sir Humphrey. I might be being seen as a bit sympathetic to him there but I’m not. Jim Hacker was sometimes bamboozled by Humphrey but he was often also persuaded because, quite simply, it is very easy to oppose in opposition but once in power measures that increase (or would appear to increase) that power are awfully tempting. It’s like sitting in a restaurant, o