Skip to main content

UK Government Plans £12 bn Database To Track All Emails, Phone Calls and Browsing Sessions

In a move that would certainly have given shivers to the late George Orwell, the UK Government is apparently planning a gigantic £12 bn database that will log and track internet browsing habits, emails and phone records of everyone living in Britain.

The project, which would make the controversial Phorm looks like small change, has already been allocated a whopping £1 bn fund to kickstart the first stage of the project as reported by Times Online (opens in new tab) on Sunday.

The Government Communications Headquarters, which is the official ears and eyes of the Home Office, will be in charge of handling the project and has already enlisted the help of BT and Vodafone, two of UK's biggest service providers.

More details will be unveiled next month during the Queen's speech after ministers have agreed in principle to this Super-Phorm which will have to process the estimated 60 billion text messages and 1.2 trillion emails that will be in the UK this year alone.

It will also almost certainly work in tandem with the existing US-based Echelon project and will as usual be a "vital" tool to combat terrorism and organised crime.

The UK government has already come under heavy criticisms for the way it has handled the Identity Card programme which will be rolled out in the forthcoming months and for the massive data losses it has suffered in the past year.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.