Millions of Britons who use social networking sites such as Facebook could soon have their every move monitored by the Government and saved on a "Big Brother" database.
Ministers faced a civil liberties outcry last night over the plans, with accusations of excessive snooping on the private lives of law-abiding citizens.
The idea to police MySpace, Bebo and Facebook comes on top of plans to store information about every phone call, email and internet visit made by everyone in the United Kingdom. Almost half the British population – some 25 million people – are thought to use social networking sites. There are already proposals under a European Union directive – dating back to after the 7 July 2005 bombs – for emails and internet usage to be monitored and added to a planned database to track terror plots. Full story >>
Many people probably know term "Big Brother" from the reality TV show of that name which made Jade Goody a celebrity. However, the original Big Brother is a fictional character in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four—the enigmatic dictator of Oceania, a totalitarian state where the ruling elite ('the Party') wields total power for its own sake over the inhabitants. In the society that Orwell describes, everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreens. The people are constantly reminded of this by the phrase "Big Brother is watching you."