17/05/01 Rarely have I seen an idea so breathtaking in all its aspects -- the European Commission wants to make ISPs keep all data they transfer for seven years. The practical aspects alone are beyond calculation; how many terabytes is that to store at each site? How much will that cost? But the political and personal implications are way beyond such mundane calculations. The state -- whether it's the town hall, Westminster or Brussels -- has no rights to my personal correspondence, if I'm committing no crime. It has no rights to keep it somewhere just in case I do naughty things. It especially has no rights to store the entire world's conversations somewhere where hackers, burglars or corrupt ISP employees can invisibly steal it away. Or MI5, bless 'em. We're in an election, the one time where the politicans really have to listen to us. Go find your candidates and get them to commit to fighting this arrant nonsense -- then remind them later. And if that fails, there's strong crypto and other ways to communicate than the Net; and if that fails, well. The terrible trouble with databases is that they can get corrupted, so subtly sometimes that you just don't know until years after the event. Know what I mean, Harry?