The Communications Data Bill may be kinda on hold, but clearly not for long. According to Wednesday's Guardian, a consultation paper is going out in January with a frightening twist. Looks like the private sector will get a look-in.
The former director of public prosecutions (DPP), Sir Ken Macdonald, is livid. From the Grauniad's piece:
"Authorisations for access might be written into statute. The most senior ministers and officials might be designated as scrutineers. But none of this means anything," said Macdonald. "All history tells us that reassurances like these are worthless in the long run. In the first security crisis the locks would loosen."
Warming to his topic, Sir Ken acknowledged that the idea of such a database - containing logs of all text messages, phone calls, emails and internet use - may be "driven by protective zeal", but...
"...the notion of total security is a paranoid fantasy which would destroy everything that makes living worthwhile. We must avoid surrendering our freedom as autonomous human beings to such an ugly future. We should make judgments that are compatible with our status as free people."
Well said. One might add that the government's history of bringing in the private sector and expecting them to hang onto confidential records and/or keep them confidential leaves something to be desired, but let's wait and see. Happy New Year!