Remember the political cave-in that blocked realistic penalties for privacy abuse

The Guardian today carries part of the story behind Operation Motorman, the exercise that bankrupted the Information Commissioner Office and, after a botched prosecution and derisory sentance, led to a consultation on “Increasing penalties for deliberate and wilful misuse of personal data” . The responses to that consultation showed clear support for custodial sentances. On 7th February 2007 the government announced it would take action.

Will we now see stories on the scale and nature of the back door lobbying from the customers of Mr Whittamore and his competitors that secured the subsequent U-turn?  

Is the Guardian story a one-off – or the first salvo in a campaign?

Either way it will be interesting to see whether Project 14 “Personal Internet Safety”, in the Digital Britain Implementation Plan is left as it is, or suddenly beefed up, with the necessary changes to reflect public opinion on this issue included in the Queen’s speach.   

P.S. Do read the rest of the plan as well and consider what else has been left out as well as the hooks for additional action.