The Home Secretary may be carving in to growing demands to reconsider rolling out a scheme that would pave the way for a gigantic database and said that the law will be debated in 2009, rather than for the end of this year.
Jacqui Smith said the government has chosen to have an open discussion next year because of public concerns over the ramifications that this project might have on individual privacy. However, according to the BBC (opens in new tab), the home secretary stopped short of saying that it would be removed from the government's legislative agenda for the next Parliamentary session.
The opposition has shown a united front against what they have called an "Orwellian plans for a vast database of [our] private communications". Although Ms Smith made it clear that the content of emails, internet sessions and phone conversations would not be stored, critics say that this is already going too far in a free country with free people.
The technological challenges however remain incredibly monumental. Voice Over IP and Social networking websites like Facebook or Myspace churn out billions of bytes on a daily basis, generated by tens of millions of individuals in UK and it is highly unlikely that the government could even start to track those, especially as it would be difficult to trace communications across UK borders.
- Mother of All Databases Could Become Big Brother Nightmare, says UK Government Watchdog
- UK Government Plans £12 bn Database To Track All Emails, Phone Calls and Browsing Sessions