Several days ago, I wrote about the updated version of the UK privacy bill. At the end of the post, I wondered what the UN privacy chief would have to say about it. Almost as if he read my article, it appears that I have an answer. In a live streamed conference from Brazil, Joseph Cannataci, the UN’s special administrator on privacy, stated the new update was “worse than scary”.
In the past, Cannataci has been critical of the UK, stating their surveillance policies were already worse than George Orwell imagined in the 1949 novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Ironically, that book was about a dystopian society that was formerly Great Britain. Now, he says the members of parliament of launching an orchestrated and absolute offensive to take hold of new powers. Without going in to much detail, he cautioned against the misleading statements made by parliamentarians that the public shouldn’t worry about a bill that requires service providers to retain data for a year.
In my experience that any time a government tells you not to worry about something, that is exactly when you should. Whereas Cannataci is happy about the promise of an open debate, he feels that the parliament is taking actions to legitimize the massive data collection of the past. The overarching powers outlined in this bill are a license to carry on with hacking phones and computers of suspected terrorists. It is refreshing to think that there is at least one person with a voice that feels this is wrong. Though there is nothing really he can do to change it, I hope Joseph Cannataci will continue to bring these topics up.
It is clear that the “security” of the country outweighs any individual rights the people have. Despite the safeguards the parliament insists are going to be in place, I would take that with a grain of salt. Since the UK is already watching everyone by CCTV, it is not a big step to think they could go further. The collection of data will continue, and more individual privacy rights will be violated.
It is sad to see the UK is so frightened by what is going on, that they have traveled down this path. In some ways, it feels like they do not have much faith in their own security agency. Whenever that happens, you see the sorts of things you see now. Indeed, the government has turned in to that overprotective parent that we all tried to escape.
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