Big Brother: What it really means in Britain today
By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent
The Independent has given Blair's supercomputer proposal a full comprehensive treament, including a special 'Big Brother' front page. Here are just a few snippets:
Moves to share people's personal details across Whitehall have provoked a civil liberties uproar and accusations that the Government has taken another step towards "a Big Brother state".
Ministers say the scheme - which will be endorsed by Tony Blair today - is aimed at improving public service delivery. But it faced protests that it was dealing another blow to personal privacy by creating a "snooper's charter" and enabling thousands of civil servants to access sensitive information with ease...
The Government intends to legislate later this year to ease the curbs on data-sharing between departments. It is also refusing to rule out the idea of a single "super-database", where everything from benefits and pensions records to information on motorists and TV licence payments are stored. More details are expected to be announced by the Prime Minister today.
Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: "This is an accumulation of our Government's contempt for our privacy. This half-baked proposal would allow an information free-for-all within government - ripe for disastrous errors and ripe for corruption and fraud."
Phil Booth, the national co-ordinator of the anti-ID group No2ID, warned of the danger posed by "the development of government surveillance of the population through computer records". He added: "It can be stopped, if only people stand up and say they have had enough."
Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: "Blair's Britain now has the most intrusive government in our history. It's time we put a halt to this."...
Oliver Heald, the shadow Constitutional Affairs Secretary, told the BBC that ministers were "moving one step closer to a Big Brother state". He warned against the Government being able to "set up a database from the cradle to the grave"...