Communications database ‘a step too far’

Any government-run database holding the telephone and Internet communications of the entire population would raise serious data protection concerns, the Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, has warned.

Aug 14, 2008
By Paul Jacques

Any government-run database holding the telephone and Internet communications of the entire population would raise serious data protection concerns, the Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, has warned.

Commenting on speculation that the Government is considering the development of such a database, Mr Thomas said that it would be “a step too far for the British way of life”.

He said: “I am absolutely clear that the targeted, and duly authorised, interception of the communications of suspects can be invaluable in the fight against terrorism and other serious crime. But there needs to be the fullest public debate about the justification for, and implications of, a specially-created database – potentially accessible to a wide range of law enforcement authorities – holding details of everyone’s telephone and Internet communications.”

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