Government May Hand Over Web-to-Phone Database To Private Firm To Cut Costs

The former director of public prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, has told the Guardian that the government's plan to plough billions into a giant database and then hand over control to private firms to slash costs.

In a scenario that will look slightly similar to the NHS often derided Private Finance Initiative PPP (Public Private Partnerships) packages, the government will be allowing private firms to take control the scheme to reduce the initial financial outlay that's expected to reach £12 billion (ed: and will end up costing way more than that).

Sir Macdonald has voiced out his opposition to the plan saying that even legal assurances from the government wouldn't be able to prevent data leakages to happen, adding "All history tells us that reassurances like these are worthless in the long run. In the first security crisis the locks would loosen."

The database will, according to plans drawn by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, record details of websites visited, email and phone calls made to whom and at what times. Although this data is held across a number of entities including internet service providers and telecom companies but no one tried to bring all of them together until now.

A spokesperson for the Home office said that "The communications revolution has been rapid in this country and the way in which we collect communications data needs to change so that law enforcement agencies can maintain their ability to tackle serious crime and terrorism".

Ms Jacqui Smith also revealed that 95 percent of serious crime cases were solved partly by using communications data. Go To Page 2 for our comments and more related links

Our Comments

If the current controversy caused by the proposals by Andy Burnham to police the net is an indication of the level of opposition that the government can expect from UK privacy groups and individuals in general, then this the plan for the "mother of all databases" will surely prompt even more furore.

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