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Government Faces in-fightning Over Big Brother Database Plans

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is facing growing dissent over plans elaborated by the government to build a gigantic, Orwellian, database that can keep a record of every phone calls, emails and internet sessions carried out in the UK.

According to Timesonline (opens in new tab) and The Independent (opens in new tab), a group of Home office officials have started to lobby against the plans which, according to a leaked memo, they consider to be “impractical, disproportionate, politically unattractive and possibly unlawful from a human rights perspective”.

This put those who dissent at odds with the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the official earpiece of the Government, who wants to push forward for an all-encompassing surveillance system.

The current government's track record when it comes to data handling is far from being exemplary which has led some to say that, following the recent spate of data losses by public bodies, there is an inherent fear that data might fall in the wrong hands.

In addition, many question whether it is wise to spend public money on such a project at a time of financial turmoil; experts put the price of building such a database at over £12 billion.

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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.