Sky Valley Chronicle -- In his breakthrough novel titled simply â€œ1984â€ (first published in 1949) writer George Orwell wrote of Oceania, a future society ruled by the dictatorship of â€œthe Party.â€
The society was one of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and incessant public mind control, all controlled by the totalitarian â€œcult of personality of Big Brother,â€ the deified Party leader who rules with a philosophy that decries individuality and reason as â€œthoughtcrimes.â€
At present Great Britain has the most extensive system of public surveillance of virtually any modern nation. Hundreds of thousands of video cameras tape the movements of British citizens 24-hours a day.
But soon, everything British citizens do â€“ including what they do at home or work on the Internet - may be watched by the government.
In what many in America might call a brazen and outlandish assault on personal privacy, and a move toward a frightening future for British citizens, the British government will be able to monitor the phone calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon.
The BBC reports the legislation would â€œrequire Internet firms to give the government intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications on demand, in real time.â€
In a statement the British Home Office said action was needed to "maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes,â€ in order to combat crime and terrorism.
Those concerned with civil liberties see the legislation as a nightmare that will propel the country further into Orwellâ€™s â€œ1984â€ vision of the future.
The new law, which may be announced in the forthcoming Queen's Speech in May, would not allow GCHQ to access the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant however it would enable intelligence officers to identify who an individual or group is in contact with, how often and for how long.
The BBC quotes Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch organization as calling the move "an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iranâ€¦this is an absolute attack on privacy online and it is far from clear this will actually improve public safety, while adding significant costs to internet businesses," he said.
The previous Labour government in the UK tried to introduce a central, government-run database of everyone's phone calls and emails, but eventually dropped the effort after widespread anger and opposition.