The government is pressing ahead with plans to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on a massive central silo for all UK communications data, The Register has learned.
Home Office civil servants are working on plans for the database under the banner of the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP). The team has recently been expanded and a director-level official appointed to run the project, which is not yet official policy in public.
Sources said secret briefings revealed the cost of the database would run to nine figures and has already been factored into government spending plans. The IMP budget was part of the intelligence agencies' undisclosed funding bid to the Comprehensive Spending Review last year. In an answer to a parliamentary question on 8 July, the Home Office refused to provide any budgetary details, citing national security concerns.
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The project has been pushed hard at Whitehall by the intelligence agencies MI6 and GCHQ. One ISP source described their demands as "science fiction". It's envisaged that the one-stop-shop database will retain details of all calls, texts, emails, instant messenger conversations and websites accessed in the UK for up to two years.
It's 2008 now; if you have anything to say to your British friends, you'd best say it before 1984.