The Government is planning to introduce a giant database that will hold the details of every phone call we have made, every e-mail we have sent and every webpage we have visited in the past 12 months. This is needed to fight crime and terrorism, the Government claims.
The Orwellian nature of this proposal cannot be overstated. However, there is one saving grace for people who fear for their civil liberties. The probability of the project ever seeing the light of day is close to zero. This proposal – like so many grandiose government IT schemes before it – is technologically unfeasible.
The current levels of traffic on the internet alone (including e-mail) would require storage volumes of astronomical proportions – and internet use by the public is still growing rapidly. Meanwhile, the necessary processing capabilities to handle such a relentless torrent of information do not bear thinking about. Modern computer processors are fast, but writing data to disks will always be a serious bottleneck.