Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 10/6/2002Putting down the phone from yet another attempt to get any information out of the DTI, I decide I'm in the wrong job. In the future, I'm going to become a postman.

Monday 10/6/2002

Putting down the phone from yet another attempt to get any information out of the DTI, I decide I'm in the wrong job. In the future, I'm going to become a postman. Or an inspector from the Food Standards Authority. Or perhaps a local councillor. Any of these -- and people working for more than 20 other miscellaneous public and semi-public bodies -- will be able to inspect telephone records, network access details, email destinations and so on held by service providers. Judicial oversight for this? Guess. It's all in a proposed amendment to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), which our beloved masters hope to wave through parliament on 24 June.

Actually, of course, there's no need for me to become an employee of any of the new agencies detailed in the amendment. All I have to do is befriend one of the uncountable thousands of petty bureaucrats who will be empowered to go rifling through your personal details, and get them to do the dirty work. After all, the chances of them being properly trained, managed or in any way controlled are minimal -- expensive, that sort of thing, and who's got the money? And it doesn't matter that nine out of ten people in the organisations are incorruptible; I'll be happy with just one.

So, to make my life as an irresponsible, corrupt journalist much easier, under no circumstances email or fax your MP and ask them to stop this hideous, ill-conceived, unfocussed extension of state surveillance. Especially, don't go anywhere near www.stand.org.uk with its fine selection of support information and tools to help you lobby. Trust Tony, and I look forward to examining your email logs at a future date.