A news report in the Sunday Times of London says that the UK government intends to spend some "Â£12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain."
The story says that Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British intelligence and security organization and eavesdropping center, has already received to Â£1 billion to finance the initial stage of the project.
Details of the plan are said will be disclosed to the British public next month.
The story says that, "Officials claim live monitoring is necessary to fight terrorism and crime. However, critics question whether such a vast system can be kept secure. A total of 57 billion text messages were sent in the UK last year - 1,800 every second."
Allegedly, the UK government is already providing foreign security agencies such as the CIA "with real-time access to traffic camera images and related data monitoring British motorists on highways throughout the UK."
I wonder if they are planning to do the same with this information as well?
In the quaint old days of the Cold War, Western democracies used to point to places like East Germany and say one of the differences between "us" and "them" was that we didn't routinely spy on our people. How times have sadly changed.