I posted recently, unwisely I suppose, on the Facebooking of the political party I belong to – the Labour Party. Today, I realise this has extended to the whole British body politic, state, security services and every citizen who lives on our islands.
The Guardian reports the so-called #DRIP lawmaking process thus:
Forty-nine MPs have voted against rushing the government’s emergency surveillance legislation through all its Commons stages in just one day.
A deal between the three major parties, however, secured the fast-track timetable by 436 votes to 49, despite accusations from one Labour MP that the move amounted to “democratic banditry resonant of a rogue state”.
It concludes with the following summary of the powers being rushed through:
The bill requires internet and phone companies to store the communications data generated by phone calls, email, texts and internet use for 12 months and make it accessible to police and security services.
So why do I call this a “state-run Facebook imposed on every UK Internet user”? Mainly because once you’re a part of Facebook, the most you can do is delete your osmotic public persona – if you’re looking to remove your data from their servers, however, think twice, three times, as many times as you want: it won’t ever be clear whether it’s happened or not.
A similar issue with this #DRIP bill. (Bill? How naive of me. Probably law by now … they’ve had two days, after all, bless ‘em, to get through the complexities of the process.)
In the same way as I’ve never been very clear about what happens to your Facebook data – even on deletion of your account – so I’m not clear about the implications of the conclusion of the Guardian‘s report; and it’s a fact I’m sure is not due to the reporters themselves.
How can I ensure Facebook has removed my data, likes, posts, comments and photos from every single server it owns, when I ask for us to go our separate ways? I can’t be.
Equally, after the last twelve months of my Internet activity’s been released to the police et al, what happens next month to the first of that last twelve months’ block? Do the police et al conscientiously remove the first half of a telling email thread from their files because it started thirteen months ago and is now out of my best-by date? Or do they realise – for the security of the nation, its peoples and paedophile political classes (or not as the case may unjustly be alleged) – that they actually need to hang onto not only thirteen months of my Internet history but, now, as I slowly progress down the evil road they believe I am taking, fourteen, fifteen or even twenty-four long months – whilst they wait for me to make my surely criminal moves?
Really, what I’m asking, much as I’d ask in the case of a data subject’s desire to be permanently removed from Facebook’s servers, is who is possibly going to be able to oversee the correct removal of tens of millions of British citizens’ datasets on a 24/7 rolling basis, week after week, month after month, year in and year out – until the end of civilisation as we know it? (This latter date being probably July 16th, when #DRIP will clearly be law.)
I suppose if we really cared to do it right, we could solve unemployment overnight.
In the 20th century, they talked about digging holes, burying bags of money – and then proceeding to dig them up again.
In the 21st century, they now may talk about invading privacies, hollowing out voters’ lives – and then proceeding to pay other people bags of futile dosh to ogle the multiple intimacies of the obviously guilty multifarious.
The principle’s the same, of course. The utility, creativity and imagination required too.