Today in Britain, yet another step toward Orwellian tyranny:
Officials from the top of Government to lowly council officers will be given unprecedented powers to access details of every phone call in Britain under laws coming into force tomorrow.I wonder how many conservatives would be on board should the Bush Administration attempt a similar program, or how many liberals would do the same should President Hillary try it.
The new rules compel phone companies to retain information, however private, about all landline and mobile calls, and make them available to some 795 public bodies and quangos.
The move, enacted by the personal decree of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, will give police and security services a right they have long demanded: to delve at will into the phone records of British citizens and businesses.
But the same powers will also be handed to the tax authorities, 475 local councils, and a host of other organisations, including the Food Standards Agency, the Department of Health, the Immigration Service, the Gaming Board and the Charity Commission. The initiative, formulated in the wake of the Madrid and London terrorist attacks of 2004 and 2005, was put forward as a vital tool in the fight against terrorism.