Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pay More for Post but Stamp out Plans for State Snooping; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pay More for Post but Stamp out Plans for State Snooping; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: David Banks

SUDDENLY, 60p for a first class stamp is starting to look cheap if it means keeping MI5's nose out of my emails.

It might make sense for a government that has increased postage stamp prices to undreamed-of levels to scare people away from the electronic mail alternative (depriving the Royal Mail of its boosted revenue) by allowing spooks to scan our outpourings whenever they feel like. But while 'they' say police and security agencies are only interested in looking at the source, destination and frequency of emails how can that be true? Your messages to my address below all go to the Hotmail server with the URL hotmail.

We have all com; similarly, my Twitter messages (@BanksofEng-land) all go via the Twitter server, making individual traffic analysis futile. righteous outcry hacking and press snooping So how will 'they' distinguish emails sent by my friendly, local terrorists as distinct from the tirades fired off by irate Northumbrian farmers if 'they' can't check contents? Either the scheme has been badly thought through or the Government is lying.

Call me smug but I can't for the life of me believe we have all witnessed the righteous outcry over phone hacking and other means of press snooping only to hear that the state intends to do the same thing.

Still, if Big Brother really does want his spooks to do a 'Benji the Binman' trawl through my personal emails looking for treachery, good luck to them: my Fifth Column is hidden among thousands of junk emails.

TO save the spooks the bother of wading through my inbox, let me present to you the most amusing emailed personal ad sent to me for inclusion in the next edition of my e-newspaper, The Clarion: "Man with hot pasty seeks woman with jerry can and first-class stamp for travel and fun."

Any offers? TALKING of pasties and jerry cans, the great Donald Zec - who wrote Daily Mirror columns of great wisdom in that newspaper's halcyon days in the Forties and Fifties - reassures us that the millionaire ex-banker Francis Maude (he of the "fill a jerry can and put it in your garage" fame) is only doing what generations of privileged, silly-ass Tories have done through the ages. …

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