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Jack Smith

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Jack Smith telephoned 12 people, 3 companies and 4 organisations in the last two days.

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Telephone companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) store records of customers' telephone calls and Internet communications for business purposes, such as billing and fault diagnosis. The UK's intelligence agencies, HMRC, prisons and 510 public authorities can all demand access to this communications data.

From April 6 2009, ISPs and phone companies will also be required to retain specific communications for 12 months, keeping a record of who talks to whom, and internet traffic, including email header information - data almost as desirable as the content of these calls and messages.

The Government's Interception Modernisation Programme, the focus of which is to centralise these communications data in a single government database "silo", would greatly increase the potential for data mining and monitoring and is set to be consulted on in 2009. It is understood that work on building a prototype is currently underway.

Sir Ken Macdonald, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, who has first hand experience of working with intelligence and law enforcement agencies, has warned it could create a "hellhouse" of personal private information as assurances over security and privacy concerns "would prove worthless in the long run".



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