Welcome, Orwell

You know, quite few people have been going nuts over their government spying on you. But the sad truth is that very few governments have any real reason to spy on all of their citizens anymore. They just don't have the money to do it, either. It also turns out that NOT spying on your citizens makes them a wee bit happier, and they don't think about revolution that often anymore. So you don't need to spy on them.

However, there are institutions out there that have the motivation and the money to spy on everyone. They think everyone is a criminal (which is probably true - when was the last time YOU forwarded an email that contained a funny animation, and you weren't quite sure about its legal status?), and because getting a search warrant on a single person is too much hassle and too expensive, they just want to have a blanket permission to spy on everyone.

I'm talking about the new Data Retention Directive of Europe, which has been designed to combat some really serious issues such as terrorism and serious crime. The media industry believes that intellectual property violation is as serious a crime as terrorism, and that the restrictions in the Directive should be loosened so that they can go to ISP's files and scan them automatically for any potential infringers, so that they can then sue everyone. All your emails, all your data traffic, all the web sites you go to. Downloading something by accident might make you liable for damages - in the U.S, RIAA wants 150,000 USD per copyright violation (in Finland, this seems to be settled around 22 €.)

This is roughly the same thing as if the government wanted every single car to be equipped with a GPS device, and all your speed information would be transferred to the police, and they would just email you a ticket whenever you exceeded the speed limit. Convenient? Yes. Oppressing? Hell yeah. Imagine what kind of a noise would that create even among the honest car-driving population - everyone speeds sometimes.

The media industry gave us a fictional Big Brother, where we could watch bored kids getting drunk 24 hours a day. Now they're trying to give us the Real Thing, as laid down by Orwell and all the other dystopians.

Don't let it happen. Write to your MEP now (Finnish MEPs), and let them know that you oppose the Data Retention, and especially the way it's being rushed. And, even if you think that such a law might be necessary at some point, at the very least mention that you oppose any attempt to make it less strict - it should be meant for very, very serious offenses only. Because the fact that such detailed data about your surfing habits exist, means that it might well be misused.

Update: Got a response from Alex Stubb:

Parlamentissa hiotaan nyt kovasti vesitettyä versiota tästä aloitteesta. Katsotaan,
mitä vastaava valiokunta saa aikaan. Alunperin esitetyssä muodossa en voi
tallennusvelvollisuutta tosiaankaan kannattaa.


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"Main_blogentry_251105_2" last changed on 25-Nov-2005 15:22:46 EET by JanneJalkanen.
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