"The nine agencies with the power to intercept letters and phone calls - the security and intelligence services, three police chiefs, Revenue & Customs - have been joined by no fewer than 786 other organisations, which, since 2004, have been allowed to ask for communications data such as the identities of whom we phone or write to, and the internet sites we visit. These organisations include all local authorities, police forces, prisons and other bodies such as the Financial Services Authority, Ambulance Service and Independent Police Complaints Commission.
In the last nine months of 2006 these bodies made 253,557 requests for data from personal communications for purposes ranging from protecting public health to collecting tax, or in the interests of public safety or “the economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom”. Which could cover pretty much anything. More than 1,000 mistaken interceptions were made; nearly 4,000 the previous year.
In the same period, the Home Secretary authorised 1,333 warrants to intercept telephone calls or letters. And about 350 bugs were placed by police and Revenue & Customs in the year from March 2006-07."
Gordon Brown tried to mock Nick Clegg, the Liberal Leader, when he raised this in the Commons today by suggesting that merely by asking the question Clegg was against CCTV. This is not about CCTV, an essential tool for fighting crime. This is about Big Brother - and it has gone too far.