Time, privacy and its lack thereof

Over the weekend I watched “V for Vendetta”. Its come up recently in a forum I frequent, specifically the quote at the beginning – about ideas being impossible to kill.

Its wrong.

Ideas can be killed. Eventually. It takes time, patience, and willingness on the part of those whose minds you are changing.

I wonder, do you ever worry about this country? (I’m talking to the Brits here. Sorry everyone else, this post is aimed at the UK, our laws and situation though you may find parallels about where you live.) We have a government that (almost) no-one likes. We have a leader, who at best could be termed ignorant. At worst a devious schemer.

Not worked out what I’m talking about yet? This is what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the erosion of our privacy. I’m talking about the surveillance state we are in. Do you even know what powers our oh so wonderful government has over us now? Read some of the above links. Heck even the Information Commissioner, the guy supposed to be looking after our privacy as relating to computers is saying its here!

I’ve been reading all these news items one by one, slowly, over a period of the three or so years that I’ve been watching and reading all articles that come up in BBC News’s tech section. As I’ve read them one by one, and not put them together, I haven’t worried too much. Till now. Apart, each are only merely slightly worrying. Together, we’ve got a problem. If you’ve not already, I recommend you now go and watch “V for Vendetta“, and then read “The Traveller“. Then continue reading below the line.

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You think the technologies to create this don’t exist? As someone who sits on the edge (or maybe inside) of geek-dom, I can say with knowledge and certainty, they do. We could be living in George Orwell’s 1984’s level of observation in a simple matter of 6 months. Heck, if you’re in London, you’re probably already carrying at least one unique ID tracker, most of which can be read remotely at 30 feet (or more). Your RFID Oyster card. Your mobile phone. Your RFID chipped passport. Your RFID credit/debit card.

Don’t believe me? Read up on RFID and RFID skimming.

Literally, all we have to do now is wait, as our last safeguards are removed or bypassed, and before too long all it will take to bring us to the societies depicted in “1984”, “V for Vendetta” and “The Traveller” is one crack pot power maniac in government. Need I mention, I don’t have a high opinion of Gordon Brown?

Its not as if it hasn’t happened before in history, one man taking over a democratic country and turning it into a dictatorship. But much worse, as in our country is all the tools needed to *keep* our country in a dictatorship and aid its passage to one.

Now, I can say all this, as we’re not there yet. However, I see the day fast approaching when I would be arrested for what I have written here, and asked to relinquish my encryption key’s pass phrase. (You’ll have to torture me before that happens.)

Someone once told me, that we’d never get to the point where the EU constitution comes into play. The treaty that was ratified by the UK merely a few weeks ago, was basically the EU constitution.

I have heard many times, “I’ve got nothing to hide”. No, not yet. Until you have to hide your sexuality. Your Race. Your religious beliefs. Your musical preferences. Your secrets.

I leave you with a link and this old, poem. How long before it becomes relevant once more?

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When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,

there was no one left to speak out.

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