What about all the “meta data”, the external information about how many emails were sent, to whom etc? “Look,” he challenges. “Who has the info on you? It’s the commercial companies, not us, who know everything – a massive sharing of data. The other day I bought a watch for my wife. Soon there were lots of pop-up watches advertising themselves on our computer, and she complained. ‘It’s that bloody internet,’ I tell her.”

Outgoing GCHQ chief Iain Lobban apparently unaware of the demands for data retention made on internet companies by governments for the past 13 years?

GCHQ: ‘This is not Blitz Britain. We sure as hell can’t lick terrorism on our own’, Telegraph, 2014-10-11

A few weeks after the visit to Alderson, in late November 2012, both Kent and Essex Police contacted The Mail on Sunday lawyers to say they had identified Mr Alderson, and when reports were later handed over, it was clear that the officers had painstakingly checked the timing of telephone calls against the redacted emails to piece together the jigsaw.

The research found that consumers consider the cumulative value of a common set of their personal data to be worth approximately €170/£140, a figure businesses need to bear in mind when balancing the use of personal data and supplying services in return. However, consumers place a higher value on their data when sharing it with a company they are unfamiliar with – rising to nearly €240/£200 for the full set of data commonly shared online.

Examining one of the clusters in the map above revealed that only one of the 5 likely drop-off addresses was inhabited; a search for that address revealed its resident’s name. In addition, by examining other drop-offs at this address, I found that this gentleman also frequented such establishments as “Rick’s Cabaret” and “Flashdancers”. Using websites like Spokeo and Facebook, I was also able to find out his property value, ethnicity, relationship status, court records and even a profile picture!

After this discovery was made, I went back to 23andMe and talked to them. I said, “I’m not sure all your customers realize that when they participate in your family finder program, what they’re participating in what are essentially really advanced paternity tests.” People find out that their parents aren’t who they think they are. They have nearly a million people in the database. If there happens to be anyone in there you’re related to, they’ll find your match. This is a solid science.

Every month over a thousand surveillance operations are carried out, not just by law enforcement agencies but by other public bodies like councils and quangos. And the tentacles of the state can even rifle through your bins for juicy information.

How have we got ourselves into the position where there is such a marked imbalance of power between the citizen and the state?

David Cameron in 2009

Shame the Conservatives purged all their pre-2010 speeches from their website.

Whether it’s Bitnet, The Tor – which is 90% of the Internet – peer-to-peer sharing, or the streaming capability worldwide. At what point does civil society say that as well as the benefits that brings, this enables huge risk and threat to our society that we need to take action against?

Commissioner Adrian Leppard of City of London Police, June 2014

Looks like the City of London Police are now aware of BITNET, but we can’t help but suspect that the Commissioner doesn’t know the difference between Tor, and the “deep web” - i.e. the web that’s not publicly available, such as company intranets.

Quoted by TorrentFreak, it is 06:35 into this IP Enforcement Summit online video

Material which is of no intelligence interest is very quickly passed over, as often as not without being read or listened to. In many systems it is immediately marked for deletion. The deletion will then very soon happen, in many systems automatically; meanwhile the analyst, being only human and having a job to do, will have forgotten (if he or she ever took it in) what the irrelevant communication contained. I have sat next to analysts and heard or seen this happening;

The Interception of Communications Commissioner reassures the public that the lack of interest shown by analysts during inspections provides a robust safeguard for their personal privacy. (Annual Report 2013)