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Big Brother really is watching

I must confess that, when the Big Brother database story broke last week I made a mental note to look at the topic against the backdrop of the Echelon surveillance network and database - which currently records and keyword searches all types of voice calls in the UK.

But then I started reading up on the topic over the weekend and realised that Geoff Hoon's assertions on BBC Question Time - in which he said he was prepared to go "quite a long way" in undermining civil liberties to stop people being killed, and added: "The biggest civil liberty of all is not to be killed by a terrorist" - had me worried.

It seems that, by triangulating mobiles, it's now possible to locate a GSM/3G handset to within a few tens of metres and even work out which direction its owner is headed.

If you couple this data with the planned GPS-enabled road toll scheme the government has planned, it's dead easy to work out who you interacted with in a 24-hour period, and even who travelled with you on the bus, tube or your very own car.

To say this database is Orwellian is to give George Orwell a bad name.

It sucks, big time.

We already know that details of people's mobile phone calls, the Web sites they visit and the emails they send are already stored by telecoms companies for a fixed period of time.

But if this government takes over the database, it could be forever.

This is serious stuff. So serious, in fact, that I'm thinking of getting a pager to take messages from my mobile, which will be switched off whilst I'm travelling and only switched on when I want to make a call.

Multi-SIM mobiles anyone?