another rant to file under ‘the end of the world as we know it’

DISCLAIMER: If I didn’t post some of these opinionated rants I feel I would never blog at all.

“Mother should I trust the government?”

I’ve been reading a few articles about the revised Search & Surveilence bill that’s going before the select commitee in a few days time. None of the article’s I’ve read have anyhitng positive to say about it, and after doing a quick search, none of the articles on Google’s first page do either. I’m not surprised that the ‘aim’ of those pushing the bill forward is to combat organized crime. I’m just sad that they feel they it’s right to give some very invaisive, and suspecting powers to companies and consortiums who really don’t need them.
To quote from ‘The Standard:’

“- If they have a policy on strip-searching they may use it.  If they have suspicion they may conduct a warrantless search, and seize items of interest in plain view.

– They may hack into your computer and conduct fishing expeditions for crimes you may have committed.

– 24-hour video and audio surveillance (and any future sort of surveillance) gets classed the same as a search, making it much more easily authorised.  And where warrants are required they need not be obtained from a judge, but from a ‘registrar” or possibly a JP.
– Police trespass on private property?  It’ll now be fine.

Along with search and surveillance powers it introduces a new ‘Examination Order’.  This requires someone to report to the police for questioning and removes the right to silence.  The new version of the bill allows you to go before a judge to have them determine if you are incriminating yourself, thereby incriminating yourself…

Another new power will be Production Orders  this allows ‘enforcement officers’ to sit back and order you to produce documents that you have, or will have in future, on an on-going basis if they suspect that an offence has been committed.”

I simply do not buy the defence that ‘if you’ve done noting wrong, you have nothing to worry about.’ I don’t trust any organization run by human beings to use these powers in a completely upright manner. I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up one morning to find that big content had hacked my computer and removed any music that hadn’t been purchased from the iTunes store because I ripped a copy from the CD I paid for. I wouldn’t be surprised if every car enthusiast in Christchurch had their cars and cellphones bugged (except for the Mayor’s V8 falcon, of course). I wouldn’t even be surprised if it was made legal or police to raid student flats because the purchase of a keg of beer came up on a student’s transaction history, or a text message about a friday night piss-up.

It’s not just this bill that bothers me either. Research In Motion received ultimatums from several countries in the middle east, as well as India to hand over the technology that has made Blackberry phones so popular. Their so-solid encryption. These governments are claiming that the terror attacks and insurgent activities that take place within their borders are being conducted on blackberries because of their encryption. Frankly, if I were a terrorist I wouldn’t be stupid enough to use the same phone twice. The problem with that logic is, because the smart ones use burner phones, eventually the search and surveilence will cover everything everybody says in a phone call or sends in an email, or types in a text message. And for that matter, what about Marion high school in the states turning on the webcams of the macbooks it issues out to studetns wherever they are? If that wasn’t a case of dirty old men, then I don’t know what is.

This is all enough to make me consider giving up electronic technology, the one thing that has been my bigest hobby for the majority of my existance, to go off the grid. Find a cave in fijordland and live out the rest of my days there, or disappear into the heart of Africa with my wife, (she would definitely like that idea) never to be seen by the west again. But really, does that help anyone?

I guess we’ll have to wait, pray and see.

I’ll keep using this stuff. I’ll give it exactly what I’ve been giving it up to this point. I’ll watch the news to see if this bill gets passed with unanimous applause inside the parliament house, or thrown out after a tsunami of outcry from the rest of the country. I’ll try, with God’s grace, to be as good a Christian as I can, and I’ll keep telling people that if they don’t want the world to know, don’t put it on the internet. But if I still see teenagers in Christchurch arrested for merely having a flash car, or see reports of officers bugging bathrooms to watch ‘suspicious individuals’ shower then screw it. I’m gone.

If You don’t see me on the internet again, I’m (probably) not dead. Just out the back of the back of beyond.


One thought on “another rant to file under ‘the end of the world as we know it’

  1. It is an interesting world we’re turning into. Various comments made in this blog remind me of the scenes in The Dark Knight where Bruce Wayne develops technology to use cellphones as radar. Such great power could easily be abused.I think either you told me, or I told you about the new search engine you can use to find detailed information about people such as their exact address, email, cellphone number, social networking sites they’re registered on etc. Far more information than you’d get from your local phone directory. Surely there should be some law against it, but apparently not.Further to your comment about raiding student flats because of transaction history, data mining is a huge business worldwide. Companies spend vast amounts of money to data mining companies to give them information about what consumers have brought, when they brought it and what colour it was in. Using that information, they can direct advertising that would appeal to not only their ideal demographic, but to even an individual consumer. Much like Amazon’s recommended buys, the various adware/malware/keylogger programs and those ridiculous toolbars you’re encouraged to install when using ‘freeware’.I read a novel a year or two ago that used data mining as part of its story. Summary from wikipedia: "A killer has access to the world’s greatest data miner called Strategic Systems Datacorp. He is using detailed information to commit crimes and blame them on innocents."Its interesting as throughout the story you get an understanding of just how much information we create about ourselves everyday and just how valuable that information is. If you’re interested in reading it, let me know and I’ll lend it to you.As far as your idea of getting off the grid, at times I’ve contemplated the same thing. But more as an escape from a rough patch in my life than to avoid Big Brother watching me. Although I have a feeling to get off the grid, you’re bound to leave some information behind telling people your plan. Such as this blog…

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