Details of Intercept Modernisation Programme emerge

So. The government has finally broken its silence regarding the details of the resurrected Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP). Sir Bonar Neville-Kingdom, a man who appears to have the order of his name rather mixed up, gave a speech at the Institute for Government on Tuesday evening in which he described a new ‘ethnographic study into how government is adapting to the Internet age’.

That speech included an attempt to justify the re-introduction of the IMP, by a government which had pledged to ‘end the storage of internet and email records without good reason’. Sir Neville-Kingdom said:

Intercept Modernisation merely restores in a digital age the ability Government has always had to read the addresses of people’s envelopes and to record which numbers they dial. In a digital world this also means recording the web sites people visit and the email addresses people use. This is merely common sense. We shall ensure the programme is both cost-effective and too big to fail.

What was that, Sir Neville-Kingdom? From where I’m sitting, it sounded suspiciously like:

The government is frightened of losing control of an increasingly savvy and well-informed public. In an effort to restore control, we have decided to take measures to reinforce a vague, disturbing sense of being constantly under surveillance. We shall of course ensure that all the money we spend in this sinister endeavour goes to our chums.

I must say, Sir Neville-Kingdom, I do admire your honesty!

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