All UK citizens to carry electronic tagging device

The UK Government announced today that all UK citizens would be required to carry an electronic tagging device. The pocket sized device will send out a frequent GPS signal to a network of radio masts. This will allow the Government to have a continuous record of the location of all its citizens. The device will also record all contacts between citizens. Whenever someone speaks to another person the device will record the other party’s identity, and the time and duration of the conversation. Your tag will then transmit this information a database where it will be stored for years.

To keep down Government expenditure citizens will be required to buy their own tagging device and pay a monthly service charge. A Government spokesman said the tagging devices were an essential weapon in the fight against paedophile terrorists.

No, not really. Though, given the recent activities of our Labour Government, the idea does not really seem all that improbable.

However, the real reason why the Government is not going to bring in such a scheme is that it is unnecessary. Most of us are already carrying an electronic tagging device that does just what is described above, and more.

Our mobile phones send out regular signals to the masts of the phone network. By a process of triangulation [more] our location can be accurately plotted. This happens every few minutes. This location data is then stored in a database under a scheme of data retention under a voluntary arrangement between the Government and the telecom companies. This scheme was introduced by Jack Straw when he was Home Secretary in the first Labour Government. This data retention scheme is now going to become compulsory in all EU countries, thanks to a scheme pushed through by Tony Blair. Are the police using this retained data to monitor you? The answer is, yes they are. [more]

The date, time, and duration of all your calls is also recorded; and, of course, the numbers of the people you have been speaking to. That means the Government has a record of all your family, friend and business contacts. If you are a politician or journalist don’t expect to have any confidential informants.

This may be the first time you have read about this being done. That’s not surprising. The UK media has been curiously silent about data retention. [more]

Your personal tagging device can do much more than just track your location and contacts. The police and MI5 have developed software which can be used to turn on the microphone in your mobile. This can be done even when the phone appears to have been turned off. That allows the secret squirrels to listen to all your conversations.

Lauren Weinstein's has a blog post and an informative video on this. It is well worth watching.

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