LONDON – British Prime Minster Gordon Brown was lambasted in Parliament last week for the government spending billions on troubled IT projects while the country slips into recession.

The debate came one day after the Home secretary Jacqui Smith revealed that technical work on creating a massive communications database has begun before ministers have created legislation to set it up. This is despite the fact ministers have only begun the consultation on the proposed parliamentary bill to gather communications data for policing and national security purposes. Smith told MPs during a Joint Committee on Human Rights on Oc. 28.

The database proposals will see records of phone, email and internet communications — including VoIP — kept for 12 months. The cost for taxpayers has not officially been set, even though there has been press speculation of up to

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