In resurrecting the Intercept Modernisation Programme, the Government breaks a clear, basic and fundamental promise

Watching laptop More details are emerging on the astonishing news Dan covered earlier: the appalling "Intercept Modernisation Programme" is to continue despite the Conservative Party's recent pledge to reverse the rise of the surveillance state. Actually, do have a look at that last link. It's remarkable that they've left the paper on their website; perhaps the thinking is that everyone's so concerned with the spending review that nobody will notice the rank hypocrisy? Whatever the explanation, leaving it up breaks with the longstanding tradition of repainting the commandments on the side of the barn whenever Napoleon changes his mind.

And it can't be blamed on the formation of the Coalition, either. The Coalition Agreement promised to "end the storage of internet and email records without good reason".

Buried in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Government plans to introduce

a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications

Couple this with the disgusting u-turn on the Summary Care Record, despite similarly clear and concrete promises, and a troubling picture emerges; it is fascinating and dreadful to see the speed of bureaucratic capture, the reversion to bureaucratic authoritarianism on show – intrusions are piling up so fast that my extended essay published last week is already out of date.

The IMP will allow the security services and the police to spy on the activities of everyone using a phone or the internet. Every communications provider will be obliged to store details of your communications for at least a year and obliged in due course to surrender them up to the authorities. The authorities will be able to track every phone call, email, text message and website visit made by the public on the absurd pretext that it will help to tackle crime or terrorism.

Just see how the surveillance state is being reversed, eh!?

By Alex Deane