New Security Legislation – Monitoring Social Networking Communications
So, where do you stand with regards to this weeks announcement that the British Government wants to monitor email, telephone and social networking communications? Or will you wait until all the facts have been heard first? Well, I side with the latter argument because I can’t seem to make up my mind what I think about the whole thing. From what I gather (correct me if I’m wrong here) is that the Conservative Government wants to monitor when these communications are taking place and with whom, while the content will remain unknown. This is to of course protect our security namely from the likes of terrorists and paedophiles.
However, something that I didn’t already know is that our internet history is already kept on file for one year and this is under EU regulations, so in a way this is being added upon. While I can understand the logic – if you’ve got nothing to hide then why worry? But at the same time, where is the line drawn? This may be a little far-fetched but what if our communications are sold off to advertising of media conglomerates in order to re-shape how they reach their target market. This may not be a direct concern to ourselves because we have probably already shaped our opinions on how we buy and spend, but what about the future generations? All of this could in turn impact them.
The second way in which this could spiral out of control is increased tracking. What if the British Government like the control of knowing who is interacting with who and decide to then monitor who is going where and with whom. Although, this is only a scenario this could be done with biometrics. Don’t panic! At the present moment in time biometric data is not stored in any database and is not shared with any larger databases out there for example travel, police and spending. But, if this were to happen, biometrics would be used to go beyond the conventional security or access control function.
Now, I can see a clear problem with this. Not only could it increased moral panic among the public but again become a target for advertisers and marketers. Say for example we had our fingerprints registered as infants (fingerprint images don’t change by the way) and we used this data to travel, spend and identify ourselves etc. Although identity theft and criminal activity may decrease, what would happen to our freedom? We could be directly marketed around the world. No matter where we are globally, people would know where we are, who we are with, what we are doing and how long for, as well as targeting our spending habits while we’re there. Okay this is a little ‘Big-Brother’ – esque but if George Orwell was writing about it in 1949 then what’s the difference today?
This is of course nothing to worry about as of yet, but food for thought nonetheless. For the time being, I think I’ll side with, ‘If you’ve got nothing to hide then why worry, we’re being protected for our own good!’
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