GuyClapperton 12 Staff Writer

The UK Government's communications agency GCHQ has issued a rare statement saying it has no plans to monitor every individual's emails. Instead, the Home Secretary says we should all be ready to have our ISPs record all our Internet contacts. I've met a few ISPs. They're going to be delighted, nay, ecstatic with this new management overhead they're now being asked to shoulder.

As with the previous suggestion, which was to hire a private company to watch everyone's emails, this isn't going to work. The companies who'll need to offer up the information simply won't wear it.

On the other hand I'd love to see my file if they do. 'Investigated new car with Saab, checked bank account, logged out of Saab website without making a purchase...' There'll be a lot like that and I'll bet I'm not the only one. 'Looked at Armani Suit, bought a cheapie instead, mailed someone on eBay to see whether that Rolex for £10 was genuine...' 'Emailed wife to ask something then remembered she's just downstairs since the job stopped...'

There are of course serious civil liberty implications behind someone in Government knowing who I'm talking to at any time. But of more serious concern is going to be the sheer weight of tedium and trivia under which any Government agency investigating anything is going to collapse. And I do mean collapse.

This isn't the place to get political but if they get this through Parliament before the next election I'll be staggered - after which I'm betting there'll be a new administration so it won't matter.*

* You may of course keep this quote and hold me up to public ridicule next year if I'm wrong!

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