he details of the accompanying Communications Data Bill will be opened to consultation in the new year, she said, with the aim of achieving consensus with “interested parties”. Smith was keen to emphasise the content of every phone, internet and mobile communication will not be harvested, but the details of who contacts whom, when and where. That distinction is likely be the cornerstone of attempts to sell IMP to MPs and a public wearied by the erosion of civil liberties and major government data losses.
Smith was clear that she won’t take “no” for an answer. “All this is a reflection of the technological and behavioural changes that the growth of the internet brings. Once again, that is not a Government policy which is somehow optional. It is a reality to which Government needs to respond,” she said.
I am beginning to assume that, as in the US, the british government has already been gathering this and other information unlawfully, and is so hellbent on this project so that it can regularize the situation on the q.t.
In addition to being an incredibly useful target for every criminal and terrorist on the planet (and almost useless for its alleged purpose), a database like this would almost certainly capture far more information than is claimed. Just as more information travels in URLs than just site locations (think Google query strings), more information also travels across telephone routing networks than just origin/destination and datestamps. The whole point of SMS, for example, is to put the whole of a message — sender, addressee, text — in a single packet. It would be a lot of extra work to strip that out…