Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ve Vould Like to Know Who Your Friendz Are, Bitteschoen

Shane Greer writes...
News that Labour intend to set up yet another government database will hardly be of surprise to anyone. But if the latest database isn’t surprising, it is nevertheless deeply worrying. According to Labour, the government needs to know who our friends are on Facebook, and they need to know which friends we converse with. Of course, while they’re at it they’d quite like to know what our browsing habits are (which one assumes means you should think twice before joining Facebook groups that might cast more suspicion upon you than you are already subject to thanks to the very existence of this latest big brother proposal).


Outrageous. Is there no aspect of our personal lives which is safe from interference from government?

30 comments:

strapworld said...

If everyone placed Alistair Darling as a friend on their facebook page...that would really worry Brown!

commentor said...

If you use facebook, you're already a lab rat being monitored for the purposes of marketing. This is presumably like giving the police access to mobile phone records. As technology provides new ways for us to interact with each other, it's only natural that law enforcement needs to adjust to cope with these.

Oliver Drew said...

@commentor

Are you serious? Really?

What gives the government the right to know who my friends are? What interests I have? What have I done wrong to deserve the kind of monitoring that was, until recently, reserved for terrorists only?

As I said in my blog (first ever blatent plug - sorry Iain), http://tinyurl.com/czn99f , we move steadily towards a Stalinist state, where the government must know everything about you, and that is deeply deeply scary.

What have the general public done to deserve this monitoring? When did they ask the government to peer into their private lives for no reason? This is all done in the name of terrorism, but this is restricting our privacy and our freedoms. In effect, giving the terrorists exactly what they want.

T England said...

I'm begining to wonder who I fear more!
Terrorist's or this snooping dictatorship we laughingly call a governmet that is using the threat of terror to rule & watch over every aspect of our lives.

On second thoughts, at least we know how we stand with the terrorist's & what they untimatly want to achive, so I think I may start to trust the terrorists more than Labour.

Labour are really using 1984 as a guide book aren't they?

Woman on a Raft said...

Well said. It seems that Osama Bin Laden won as he has forced both the US and Europe to change in to the societies they spent the last 70 years fighting. In the course they indulged in wild, unsustainable vote-buying sprees which can only be paid for by stealing the life savings of chunks of their own populations and the future earnings of their children.

JMB said...

I get a nasty feeling that they could be more interested in people on Facebook critical of Broon than anyone associated with AQ.

Old Holborn said...

I'm not bothered. I don't have any friends.

On June 15th, there is a plan to send Jacqboot a copy of every single Email you receive, as she seems quite keen to have a copy herself.

Her Email address is smithjj@parliament.uk

yarnesfromhorsham said...

I just get the impression that if NuLab had its way the entire population would be put into one large care home with everybody sitting round in a circle and playing bingo in the afteroon and getting a weekly pocket money allowance. Control Control Control

Curly said...

It won't be long before they plan to install a CCTV camera in every living room - you know they want to!

King Athelstan said...

I've got You, Donal Blaney, Nigel Farage and Robin Tillbrook on mine, probably makes Me a terrorist suspect.

King Athelstan said...

@ JMB, then I'm dead.
@ Curly, probably one down every toilet as well.
If I changed My name to Rosa Luxembourg do You suppose they'd get the hint.

Paul Pinfield said...

Two things to come out of this:

1. It will drive people away from the awful Facebook / MySpace

2. If someone did want to form a terrorist cell and network via social media, surely they would use programs like JAP which would make it almost impossible to track them. Surely the government know this as well...

Plato said...

Or they could just become a classroom teaching assistant and get under the radar completely.

What a load of crap.

Try this excellent piece on Bad Science about the madness of trying to find a needle in the surveillance haystack.

Paul Halsall said...

All in the name of "national security."

It's as if the members of the current UK government read George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and took it as a programme of action rather than a warning.

I wonder when the rats in face-cages arrive.

The Tories will be no different.

http://englisheclectic.blogspot.com/

Salmondnet said...

Bloody hell. What is even more worrying than the proposal is that there is someone prepared to defend it.

Hope you won't mind the security services opening your post Commentor. In fact shouldn't it be compulsory to send them copies?

Mike Law said...

The questions are: will we have CCTV systems in the offices of MPs that we can all monitor? Will we be able to access their e-mails? Will have a right to follow who they network with?

Don't be fooled, this is another tool Labour could use to identify potential votes.

We have enough trouble trying to get them to come clean with their expense claims.

There are two nations in the UK: the prols and the elected "elite"...Bastards!

Not a sheep said...

No nothing, the East German Stasi were laissez-faire compared to this lot.

Stephen Glenn said...

Dear Mister Dale,

Advanced warning of a cold front.

If the government starts snooping into my Facebook details I shall no longer be able to be as nice to you in private and will have to carry on being contrary and rude and downright liberal with you at all times. I turst a reciprocal arrangement regarding your Tory tendancies can be entered into or else the Government will assume we are plotting a Con/Lib pack to unseat them and we'll end up in some high security cell for up to 42 days without trial.

Yours etc

Stephen

Shaun said...

Time to establish and join the 'Brown is bonkers' group and other groups expressing our dismay at using a CIA-seed-funded social mapping tool to, um, map people's social networks.

People have digital footprints. Footprints can be followed. As a developer, I don't know if I'm more dismayed that the government wants to do this or that people are outraged about something that has been going on all around them for years, unnoticed.

Simon Gardner said...

I have no great belief that any of this would stop under any Cameron Government. [With the exception of the totemic ID card thing - and then only on costs grounds.]

Today’s Indie story is no great surprise.

The benighted public are delighted (by and large) with CCTV Britain - the most watched in the world. They adore the new face recognition technologies that are coupled with this.

The “if you’ve got nothing to hide...” mantra is believed and adhered to by the majority of voters.

Government and commercial databases grow and grow and become more sophisticated; even as data is frequently “mislaid”.

The lessons of other totalitarian states (now and in the past) remain unlearned. We sleepwalk into giving the state the tools (with the honourable exception of a few people like Henry Porter and Shami Chakrabarti - the latter much hated here).

Personally, I only have a Facebook account in order to provide access; I don’t actually use it.

Let’s not forget the first data mining on Facebook came from Facebook.

So will the Tories do anything if they get the chance? Will they buggery.

Stephen Glenn said...

Shaun, it is not that some of us haven't been on the warpath against the keeping of our tracked digital footprints it is that now we are getting to the point that just how closely that is getting monitoried is starting to become apparent to the general public.

albertmbankment said...

Iain - I know that your German is probably better, and more regularly used, than mine. I would take 'Bitte schoen' to mean 'You're welcome', rather than 'please'. Or is that an archaism that merely shows my age?

By the way, yes this latest grubby initiative is indeed outrageous. Government agencies are quite capable of discreet monitoring of those of genuine 'interest' to them, instead of creating a climate of fear, guilt and suspicion throughout the entire population.

In the spirit of reciprocity, why not give the electorate free access to all MPs' email, mobile, medical and tax records? They don't like it up 'em, Captain Mainwaring.

Paul Halsall said...

Thinking about it, Iain, it is a bit rum of you - with a degree in German after all, to be indulging in fake German. And surely "bitteschoen" should be two words "Bitte schön"?

Iain Dale said...

Paul, You are wrong.

Paul Halsall said...

OK on the two word thing. I still the umlaut is right.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Tell me Iain, this use of cod German...do you know Max Mosley socially?

Jess The Dog said...

Fight back. Become a refusenik. Tell Jackboot Jacqui "Nein"!

http://jess-the-dog.blogspot.com/2009/03/refuseniks-for-freedom.html

The term "refusenik" seems most apt, originating behind the Iron Curtain and used as a general label for anti-State activism.

Shaun said...

@ Stephen Glenn

Then you know as well as I do that guarding your privacy online is a skill you acquire for the same reason that your parents drilled you on how to cross the road. My gripe is with people's naivety in the first instance, lacking the awareness or understanding of the things into which they enter personal details, be it credit card details or the celebrity they'd most like to knock one out over, er, copulate with...

And don't start me on how meta-data snuck up on us...

commentor said...

To clarify, I am not defending this idea as it is currently being described in the media.

I simply suspect that, as usual, the truth will be less hysterical and swivel-eyed than the "OMG ZaNuLabour Broon's gonna throw me in the gulags!!!1!1" nutters are speculating.

Also, I thought the idea of objecting to intrusions of privacy were particularly hilarious in the context of facebook.

Stephen Glenn said...

@Shaun

Only too aware. It is one of the reasons I don't use credit cards. The only trace they have on my spending is where I take cash out of the machine.

Sadly being a public figure, seeking elected office some of my information has to be in the public domain to allow me to stand for election my home adddress gets published in the press.

I also take precautions at times to cover my internet trail.