Super Database – Not so Super After All

The Home Secretary has this week announced that proposals to create a State run super database, which would track everyone’s use of email, internet and text messages, have been scrapped. The announcement is hardly surprising. It was always going to be difficult to persuade the public that such a database could be kept secure, particularly in light of recent high profile controversies about large scale losses of electronic personal data by government agencies. Moreover, allowing the State to develop such a vast single repository of electronic communications data was always going to raise questions as to whether the resulting interference with private rights was proportionate and was otherwise consistent with the State’s obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998. The Government has now issued a consultation paper on new plans to allow telecommunications companies to retain the communications data for a period of 12 months. See further the Home Secretary’s Ministerial Statement.