The Register reports that the UK Government’s much-vaunted and euphemistically named Internet Modernisation Programme (which of course represents State snooping on a vast scale) is going ahead as planned (Massive net surveillance programme on schedule).
This huge endeavour, which seeks to monitor and track all electronically mediated communications in a (probably vain) hope that patterns useful in crime detection may emerge was apparently begun in 2006, despite a consultation exercise that completely passed me by (I must have blinked at an inopportune moment). According the The Register:
A bill to establish the scheme, which would require communications service providers to greatly increase the data they hold on customers for the benefit of the police and security agencies, has been dropped by the government from this week’s Queen’s Speech.
Interestingly, work on the IMP began in April 2006, and it is projected to be complete in 2016, at an estimated cost of £2bn. In the words of Home Office minister Phil Woolas:
Initial estimates of the implementation costs are up to £2bn over a 10 year roll out period. The running costs will be offset by the phasing out of the costs of current systems.
I think one would have to be spectacularly naive to believe that cost forecast, particularly with past experience in Government IT cost-overruns. The report also notes that:
[…]a list of all Home Office IT projects worth more than £5m produced in response to a question from Conservative home affairs shadow minister James Brokenshire, also shows that the identity cards for foreign nationals scheme is more than a year late and will cost 30 per cent more than expected.
It’s just more control freakery from an increasingly out of touch government. I note from the blogosphere that moves are afoot to place blogs in the purview of the completely pathetic and ineffectual Press Complaints Commission. I note that Alan Rushbridger, the editor of the Guardian has resigned from the PCC in response to its ineffectual response to the phonetapping scandal.
I suppose that the PCC is therefore unlikely to have much impact on the blogosphere, unless the equally repressive proposals from Peter Mandelson, the unelected mandarin of the Cabinet, to disconnect from the internet individuals accused (not convicted, note) of illegal download are applied to bloggers who upset the PCC. I would not put it past this lot.