Big in the news yesterday was Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith’s announcement that the Government will not be creating a central facility to store details of our telephone and email communications. It even made prime time BBC TV News. Instead the Government will pursue a strategy of getting individual Communications Providers to store their own customers’ information.
I wasn’t going to comment on this because there was so much press coverage, much of which included answering statements infrom the industry trade body ISPA which I had already had a hand in. It is however worth restating some of the points.
Firstly I am, as an individual, nervous about having all this information situated in a single central database. It is a near certainty that at some time all of it will be compromised, either by negligence or by criminal activity.
Secondly I think the Government is misguided if it believes that it will be able to excercise any sort of control over what happens on the internet. Technology is changing so quickly that any system implemented by Government is going to be expensive whatever its purpose (monitoring/intercept, preventing P2P illegal downloads, preventing access to illegal websites, location tracking etc etc -) and would very quickly be out of date. The costs of maintaining it would be a significant line item in any budget statement.
Moreover, based on track record, you can bet your bottom dollar that the time taken to implement any such a system(s) would be so long that it would probably have to be reinvented several times during its development and eventually end up in Regents Park Zoo in the White Elephant enclosure.
PS I can see an idea for the next sci fi movie blockbuster here. It’s a cops and robbers story in cyberspace. Hollywood producers queue here 🙂