When I read the book, the very idea that a video display could be used by the government to track citizens activities seemed like a fictional jump too far. I can remember thinking TV's can't do that!
An early rumour Gloucestershire Government Kite Flying?? I didn't respond then to such a silly idea.
Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt! The security services try and mold our readiness to be monitored wholesale. Don't get me wrong I am ALL for monitoring terrorists, and certainly agree that techniques need to be developed to ensure that we REALLY can.
Over the holidays, I had heard it was a possibility but having spent 30 seconds considering it, I realised that the Government wouldn't be that stupid! Just shows how stupid I was!
For, today Radio 4's Today program reported that the idea was progressing...
So lets take a look at the reason for doing this: "The Security of Citizens outweighs their right to Privacy". Assuming for the time being I accept that premise.
Taking the total emails sent":
Remove all the emails sent from Companies, as it won't be that simple to track down individual terrorists (and we are after terrorists, right?) from that deluge.
Realise that a nefarious individual (read terrorist) will simply move their communications to a place not being monitored, Twitter for example. "D Terrorist
Remove all emails that are sent from domains set up by individuals and then shared with others, just who are the people using the @pomegranite.co.uk email domain? Good luck with that HMG!
Then add the fun of all the SPAM that needs to be pruned out!
Then realise that the large proportion of free email addresses do not simply connect to individuals.
The result is precious little security for the £12 Billion (one of the rumoured INITIAL costs), a predictable escalation in costs and more importantly in the rapid erosion of Privacy. If I was in the Security Services I'd want the £12 Billion applied more effectively.
If we want to get into the more technical details surrounding the possibility the ISP's will be requested to track the emails from the sending IP addresses; I suspect that the terrorists have heard of VPN. So there goes that idea! All that will be left is George's initial Vision: A Government spying on the daily lives of its normal citizens.
HOW TO STOP THIS INSANITY?
"You mean you HAVE to because it is an EC Directive?"
"Oh! I see! Forget I said anything!"