It must have been in 2001, when a friend "J" who worked for the security services told me that we only had to worry about government when it was joined-up.
Now we hear that "A huge Whitehall 'superdatabase' of people's personal details could be created in a bid to improve public services."
It's not a new idea and I vaguely recall giving an interview on the subject five years ago, when I called the initial proposal the "Beria Principle" after Stalin's ruthless spymaster. He would have loved the idea!
The proposal is likely to encounter resistance from civil liberties groups who fear the creation of a 'Big Brother' state and it's a subject I'll be looking at when I chair the 2007 ecrime congress in March.
Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, who will be there, has already warned that Britain may be 'sleepwalking into a surveillance society'.
The database idea has emerged from the Government's policy review on public services, which is headed by Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton and to be honest, given the awful state of privacy in this country, I have absolutely no faith that such a huge database of personal information will be safe in the hands of government.
What do you think?