The government is pressing ahead with plans to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on a massive central silo for all UK communications data, The Register has learned.
Home Office civil servants are working on plans for the database under the banner of the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP). The team has recently been expanded and a director-level official appointed to run the project, which is not yet official policy in public.
Sources said secret briefings revealed the cost of the database would run to nine figures and has already been factored into government spending plans. The IMP budget was part of the intelligence agencies' undisclosed allocation in the Comprehensive Spending Review last year. In an answer to a parliamentary question on 8 July, the Home Office refused to provide any budgetary details, citing national security concerns.
The sum will dwarf the £19m we recently reported the government has given telecoms companies to service authorities' data requirements since 2004. The überdatabase will render existing arrangements for sharing communications data with government agencies obsolete.
It's a times like these that I fall on my virtual knees and bless the cyber-gods that ensure every single major UK government project is a complete and utter failure, so this doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of ever working properly. Phew.