Monday, May 28, 2007

Are our lives safe in their hands?

Victoria Macdonald in the New Statesman Are our lives safe in their hands?

"The Stasi was relentless in its pursuit of data collection, despite its lack of decent technology. The everyday details of the country's citizens were instead logged meticulously by pen on paper. In the 21st century, the UK government is equally obsessed with charting our lives, from the pills we take to the type of sex we have. But it has one massive modern-day advantage over the east Germans - computers.

From biometric passports, to national ID cards, to an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau, the data is - or will be - all stored for use by one authority or another that needs to know, or just wants to know, what we are up to. And it will all be accessible by thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people...

This is not about rejecting progress. It is instead quite simply and fundamentally about security; it is in essence a plea that as society's reliance on computer technology moves inexorably forward, there should be some sort of guarantee that our personal details will be safely stored and protected."

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