The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has announced the scrapping of controversial plans to store a copy of your entire life in a government database.
Instead - she revealed - every last detail of everything you do, say and think will be recorded by private companies and used for marketing purposes, in the unlikely event that it fails to prove that you are a subversive terrorist bent on the extermination of the human race.
"We in the National Socialist British Labour Party decided some time ago that the only way to protect your traditional, hard-won freedom was to sweep away your traditional, hard-won freedom," explained the Reichsminister. "But then a few troublemakers started wailing about 1984-style totalitarian government, which presented the Department for Community Singing, Fat Reduction and Propaganda with a bit of a ticklish problem - at least, until we can come up with a plausible-sounding reason to abolish voting, in the interests of national security."
"Then our great friends in the private sector came up with a brilliant wheeze," she went on. "They said: 'Look, we already know everybody's details, from dietary preferences to inside-leg measurements, and they seem reasonably OK with that. How about you let us spy on their emails and phone calls too? Then you can quietly buy the info off us, and cover up the transaction with the usual guff about commercial confidentiality.' It's beautiful - the government's hands are clean, for very little effort our pals at BT, Serco and EDS make a handsome profit out of the very taxpayers they're grassing up, and I get my claws into everyone's private affairs. Everybody wins!"
Ms Smith was, however, keen to emphasise that the scheme was only a temporary measure. "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear," she smiled. "Once we've done away with all you terrorists, you perverts, you criminals, you protesters, you free thinkers, you unemployed, you disabled, you non-Party members and you dissidents - only then will you be truly free at last."
"I heard that," she added.