THIS BANK HOLIDAY weekend, a British advocacy group unveiled a 'more-disturbing-than-funny' Facebook spoof dubbed Statebook to highlight the increasing issues with digital privacy and government data mining infringing on UK citizens' rights.
The Open Rights Group said it was "tapping into a strong and growing public unease about digital privacy" and said that government data retention (or more frequently, careless government data leakage) was a sign that things were "going in the wrong direction".
Using a familiar Facebook-like interface, Statebook attempts to show citizens exactly what information the government already holds on them, whilst warning that Downing Street still wants to get its grubby paws on even more details of your private life.
Open Rights reckons it's highly disturbing how much information the British Big Brother state has managed to hoard so haphazardly and posits it may even breach basic citizen human rights.
Open Rights points out that a new Data Retention Directive, enacted April 6th, requires that British Internet Service Providers (ISPs) store detailed information on who users email and when they log on and off the Interwibble, for a full year.
As if that wasn't enough, the British government's Intercept Modernisation Programme (IMP) wants to pool the ISP info and analyse it just in case any citizens might be plotting elaborate terrorist missions via Facebook. Sigh.
But with so much data out there ripe for the picking, can we really blame the government for snatching up that which we make little effort to protect? Almost all our private information now exists electronically, and is trackable, hackable and leakable.
Security analyst, Bruce Scheiner, is quoted by Open Rights as saying "Data is the pollution of the digital age," and he certainly has a point.
As citizens we have become incredibly lax in caring about the information governments – and corporations – can gather about us, even just via data we ourselves make public online.
So, stINQers, we urge you to take a look at Statebook and think about how your personal privacy is being stomped on. You can also sign the Online Rights Group's digital petition to stop government snooping into our online affairs.
And with that, we're off to poke our local MP on Facebook. µ
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