Private Citizen = Criminal?
Now anyone who knows me, or at least reads the rubbish I spout on here, will know I’m not the biggest fan of the animal rights movement bit the recent arrests of 20 animal rightists in Austria has gotten my goat and looks to be quite worrying.
The activists are all charged with being members of a criminal organisation. Some of the evidence for this is that some of the 20 arrested use PGP to encrypt their data to prevent it being intercepted. Basically using PGP is like locking your front door when you go out or simply taking a precaution to make sure noone reads your mail who don’t want reading your mail. So basically these folks are accused of criminality for wanting to keep their private correspondence private.
Of course in this country it is already illegal to refuse to give the old bill any passwords they ask for and you can be given a prison sentence for refusing. Hell, you can be given a prison sentence for forgetting your password if they really want in.
That this happened in Austria should not prove any less worrying for those of us in this country(UK) who want to keep our private data private. We already hear the old adage ‘you’ve got nothing to fear if you’ve nothing to hide’ rolled out about the forthcoming Orwellian disaster the ID card. Though given this governments history with private data it’s more likely to turn into a Kafkaesque nightmare than an Orwellian one.
How long will it be I wonder til we hear that said about all of our e-mail and phone calls being intercepted or American intelligence agencies being given access to our personal data? The same was said when CCTV cameras were rolled out around the country. We were told that CCTV was going to help lower street crime, which was dropping anyway, and has it? Even the chief of the Met says that it has prevented less crime than it has helped solve i.e. not a lot. The one thing that it has achieved is reinforcing it in the minds of every single person living on this island – you are being watched.
But then again if you’ve nothing to hide.