Government vs Facebook

The government appears to have decided that there’s nowhere immune from their gaze. Big Brother, anyone?

Millions of Britons who use social networking sites such as Facebook could soon have their every move monitored by the Government and saved on a “Big Brother” database.

Ministers faced a civil liberties outcry last night over the plans, with accusations of excessive snooping on the private lives of law-abiding citizens.

The idea to police MySpace, Bebo and Facebook comes on top of plans to store information about every phone call, email and internet visit made by everyone in the United Kingdom. Almost half the British population – some 25 million people – are thought to use social networking sites. There are already proposals under a European Union directive – dating back to after the 7 July 2005 bombs – for emails and internet usage to be monitored and added to a planned database to track terror plots.

But technology has moved on in the past three years, and the use of social networking sites has boomed – so security services fear that that has left a loophole for terrorists and criminal gangs to exploit.

To close this loophole, Vernon Coaker, the Home Office minister, has disclosed that social networking sites could be forced to retain information about users’ web-browsing habits. They could be required to hold data about every person users correspond with via the sites, although the contents of messages sent would not be collected.

Of course they wouldn’t. If they had access to the content they wouldn’t collect it? Bullshit. Make no mistake this is a further step in the government’s insidious obsession of ‘protection’, which they seem to believe means attempting to obliterate risk. It’s filtering through to companies’ ‘protection’ policies, it’s directing public policy, and it’s insane. The only way you can completely obliterate risk is by total control. Can anyone really say that based on all  the evidence that’s not where they’re trying to head?


5 responses to “Government vs Facebook

  1. Why don’t they just bow to the inevitable and install cameras in every room of all our houses?

    I’d propose this as a policy suggestion but there’s no need, I’m sure they’re monitoring this.

  2. It’s disturbing, but – from a practical standpoint – it’s unlikely that they store the content of messages unless the individuals in question were already targeted for investigation. It would just take to much space to do it.

    The underlying principle is just wrong though.

  3. Not really. The databases they’re already putting together would store far more information, from far broader sources. You’re right in thinking they wouldn’t be able to do any of their projects well – that’s already a given I think. But their intention to go for it anyway is clear.

  4. I was speaking from solely a technical standpoint. It would quickly grow into petabytes of data and neither the UK nor US governments can really store or process that quantity.

    The intent may be foul – we agree on that – but their capacity to do it is lacking enough that the worry is largely ameliorated.

    I guess I saying, struggle against it but don’t panic; it’s not the crisis that it could be.

  5. The underlying principle, lack of integrity and robbery of free rights is apparent and it’s there. However the information of every single Briton, including little Bobby in East Croydon talking to his mate in Liverpool, i’m sure will not be violated.

    They will be focusing on ISP’s, IP’s and the like with questionable conversation and eyebrow-raising activity.

    It doesn’t make it right, though. It’s a violation, no less. It should be resisted – but ti’s not the end all.

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