Friday, April 06, 2012

Calm down dears!

There's been a lot of fuss about the web surveillance issue over the last week or so, and most of it ill-informed and exaggerated. To read some of the stuff on the Internet, you'd think that David Cameron wants a team of snoopers in his office at No. 10, scrutinising your every email, blog post, tweet and online grocery order, just to see what you're up to. Some daft individuals have suggested copying him into every email, so that he'd deluged with the things. It's ridiculous. Having written as much on Facebook, I get the impression that some of the people on my friends list think I'm in cahoots with Cameron, or completely bonkers.

This is more or less what I've written there...

Lib Dem blogger Stephen Tall has made some sensible observations about the web surveillance hoo-ha. As he states,
The government case in favour of extending interception of communications is straightforward: the law was created before the recent technological advances such as social media and smartphones and Skype, so all the new legislation will do is bring these communication methods into line with those that exist already for letter, email, phone etc.
This will mean revision of The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, introduced by Labour, which regulated the powers of public bodies to carry out surveillance and investigation, covering the interception of communications.

The media has whipped up a storm about the proposals, which aren't complete, creating a lot of OTT reaction that isn't justified. If there was another terrorist attack, say during the Olympics, that could have been prevented by the interception of the plotters' communications, and it wasn't, there'd be a huge fuss about that. You can't have it both ways, and if you're not a criminal or a terrorist, you'd have to be very paranoid or conceited to imagine that your emails would be of any interest to anyone other than the people they're addressed to.

I refuse to sign silly petitions against email snooping or bay for Cameron's blood (I reserve my criticism of him for more important issues), and I'm happy to be in a minority of one, though actually there are many who'd agree with me. As Frank Zappa said, "It has never mattered to me that thirty million people might think I'm wrong. The number of people who thought Hitler was right did not make him right... Why do you necessarily have to be wrong just because a few million people think you are?"

The moral of this blog post is: don't let your imagination run away with you.

1 comment:

theotheralig said...

A voice of sanity. Thank you.