UK Home Office to propose outsourcing interception database

A few months ago, UK Home Office Minister, Jacqui Smith, postponed the proposal of a controversial legislation placing in the hands of private companies a database containing all of the country’s intercepted telephone call and Internet traffic use data. The huge database collects the identity and location of all telephone callers and website visitors in the UK. Smith was eventually forced to abandon the plan, but now says she intends to publish a consultation paper re-introducing it to the public. She enjoys the backing of British law enforcement and intelligence services, who say “it is no longer good enough for communications companies to be left to retrieve such data when requested” to do so. Sir Ken Macdonald, Britain’s former Director of Public Prosecutions, who has in the past worked closely with law enforcement and intelligence agencies, dismisses the Home Office plan as “worthless in the long run”, and warns that the privately managed database could prove a “hellhouse” of private information. He further alleges that access to the controversial database will be guarded by flimsy legislation, which would loosen “in the first security crisis”. [JF]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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