"It is in the nature of states to want to obtain and store information about their citizens. They have been doing so since the year dot in order to tax them; but retaining vast amounts of detailed personal and private information has been nigh on impossible in any democratic state.
"Totalitarian ones have been more successful, relying on spies and bureaucrats to keep their records up to date. But information technology now allows democracies to collect and keep the sort of data about us all that more malign regimes of recent history would have killed to possess, and possessed to kill." —Philip Johnston