Central database dropped from Communications Data Bill

The government has allegedly dropped plans for a massive central database from its new Communications Data Bill (related news), which is expected to be introduced into Parliament during early October. However senior civil servants could still secretly proceed with the project, reports The Register.

The database would have used newly proposed Data Retention rules, which require UK ISPs to log a year's worth of basic customer web and email access activity, to provide a central store of personal information. This database would have been accessible by the Police, the Post Office, local council and health authorities:

But insiders believe ministers and senior officials are worried that a central database granting intelligence services and law enforcement unprecedented power to search and cross-reference mobile location data, phone calls, emails and web browsing would meet strong resistance from MPs and risk defeat for Labour. It's hoped that downplaying plans for a central database will mean a smoother parliamentary passage for the Communications Data Bill.

Statutory cover for the database could be provided later by a new government with fewer rebellious MPs. That scenario would mean this year's Communications Data Bill would focus on other elements of the IMP, such as updating wiretapping powers.

Naturally the idea of a central database controlled by the government is enough to send any sane person into a panic; their track record of misusing and losing personal information more or less speaks for itself.

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