UK Government Snooping About To Get Nastier?

Delving deeper in the report published by the communications commissioner, Sir Paul Kennedy, and there's a frightening figure that jumps out; more than half a million requests have been made to sleuth out information on UK citizens.

In an article published today in the Guardian, Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, points out to the fact that both the governing Labour party and the Tories support this state-sanctioned spying system.

This means that it is likely that the next government is likely to increase (or at least maintain the status quo), rather than reign in and decrease the likelihood of communication interception requests; no wonder then that comparisons with the dreaded East-German Stasi or George Orwell's 1984 have been drawn.

The report (a PDF document can be read here) is a very down to earth, black and white (literally) and text heavy document that, it needs to be reminded, was presented on the 21st of July 2009 - that's nearly three weeks ago.

As pointed out by the Register, the document doesn't provide a detailed analysis of the kind of data sought by each authority or as Sir Paul Kennedy puts it, "I do not intend to give a breakdown of these requests because I do not think that it would serve any useful purpose".

Unfortunately, such an analysis would have been much welcomed given the fact that the central government, the police and the intelligence agencies make the overwhelming bulk - around 99 percent - of the request for communications data.

To make things worse, not only aren't they covered by the Freedom of Information Act, unlike Local Government bodies, but their investigative power could well be increased tremendously thanks to the soon-to-be launched Interception Modernisation Programme.