Big Brother

Nothing to hide? You still have everything to fear.

“It was early morning when the German police stormed the house of Andrej Holm and his family. Armed police searched the home for 15 hours and Holm spent three weeks in pre-trial detention. Andrej Holm is an urban sociologist. His crime? Well, he committed no crime, or no more than the rest of us. He was finally released after public pressure, and the discovery, presumably, that he wasn’t a terrorist after all.

At a time when we are flooded by government demands that social media yield more information to them, that encryption be open to government, when the UK government is increasing the already vast surveillance powers they took under RIPA with dire laws like DRIP, and when the internet is harvesting ever more of our data, this should give us pause for thought.

This is, in a way, a call to more thought, much more thought, than has previously been given to these issues in public discourse. It is shocking to witness the resignation or apathy at the vast amounts of data harvesting revealed by Edward Snowden.

Holm had been noted by the security services, perhaps initially by automatic systems, for using words like ‘marxist-leninist’ and ‘gentrification’. He fitted the profile of some bombers the security services were hunting down. Unknown to him, he and his entire family had been under close scrutiny for a year before the raid took place. The police had gathered large amounts of data on him, put it all together, and come up with an entirely erroneous conclusion: that Holm was a terrorist. The mistake resulted in serious trauma inflicted on himself and his family.”

The datachasm, the “gulf between our data and us” has arrived. It should give us all the datacreeps.

“Sleep safe.”