Random Notes

MI5 Seeks to Invade Privacy of All Commuters in London

Posted by mfluch on March 16, 2008

I guess a lot of totalitarian regimes from the past (say Hitler’s Third Reich or the former DDR) whould have been longed for the same technical possibilities as we have nowadays, because it would have made their aims more feaseable. History books would have recorded those plans and methodes as described in this article in the Guardian. Later we would have heard about them, discussed them in school and we would have been horrified how these global surveilance practices against the whole population could have been done by the state. From the article:

While such new threats may grab headlines, the critical question for the new security agenda is how far Britain is prepared to go in tackling them. What are the limits of what we want our security services to know? And could they do more to identify suspects before they strike?

One solution being debated in Whitehall is an unprecedented unlocking of data held by public bodies, such as the Oyster card records maintained by Transport for London and smart cards soon to be introduced in other cities in the UK, for use in the war against terror. The Office of the Information Commissioner, the watchdog governing data privacy, confirmed last night that it had discussed the issue with government but declined to give details, citing issues of national security.

We have lost the “war agains terror” if we let ourselfs terrorize. And the above idea just shows how we let ourself terrorize. How can we even think about recording, monitoring, storing and data mining the commuting properties of the inhabitants of London in such a intrusive way? It would so well fit into Orwell’s nightmarish vision 1984 about the future!

Imagine that you, as a righteous citizen will suddenly have to think about what way to take through the London underground so that you do not attract any suspicion. You think this is idea is unreal? Then try the following idea: how about ordering from Amazon in the UK The Koran and the The Anarchist Cookbook. Both books legaly obtainable (or is amazon.co.uk selling knowingly illegal material in the UK?). You are not breaching any law. But would you buy those books? Especially after a 17 years old boy has been arrested for possession of The Anarchist Cookbook in the UK last year.

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