Monday, 1 October 2007

Phone Log Law

New laws came into force yesterday (1st Oct 2007) requiring information about every text message, landline and mobile phone call made in the UK to be logged and stored for one year.

The information will be available to over 600 public bodies and quangos. Naturally, this will include the police and intelligence agencies, and it's even just about possible that one could construct reasonable arguments in favour of granting them access to such information.

But it doesn't stop there. Other bodies, including the Gaming Board, the Food Standards Agency and every local or district council in the land will have access to it. So far, I haven't been able to find a complete list of bodies who will be able to access this information, but I've seen enough to know that, without a shadow of a doubt, yet another aspect of our privacy has just been given away.

For example, anyone who's ever had the opportunity to observe the internal workings of a local council will already know that some of what goes on there is only loosely associated with civic duty. Associations are made, nods and winks are exchanged, strings are pulled and things of benefit to local officialdom happen unopposed.

It's a way of life for them, and is so commonplace as to be barely worth mentioning save as an example of how easily records of your phone calls can now fall into unscrupulous hands. Yes, I know, there are supposed to be restrictions on what this information can be used for. There are supposed to be restrictions on a lot of things, and without them there'd be no need for nods, winks and strings, would there?

It won't be long before local politicians routinely, albeit illegally, check out their opponents' phone records in their quest for something they can use against them. And that will only be the tip of the iceberg, the thin end of the wedge. Big Brother may well be watching, but he's about to find his vantage point becoming increasingly overcrowded as Medium Brother, Little Brother, Uncle Tom Cobley and all move in beside him.

Billy Seggars.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good lord, that's quite unnerving actually.