Or/ Is this an example of the double standards which privacy supporters have?

Let me set the record straight for anyone who is new to this blog.  I agree with CCTV, the more the better.  I think that as a crime prevention tool and an additional source of evidence for a case, they are second to none.  I agree with surveillance by government agencies both overt/covert and strongly believe the greater good is served because of them.   That’s my opinion, yours may differ.

This article isn’t about all that though, this article is about the numerous articles/sites/letter campaigns by users believing that “privacy” is of the utmost importance.

Let me start by exhibiting some quotes from Privacy International where strong views about an individuals right to privacy is of the utmost importance.

Here is their site statement:

Privacy International (PI) is a human rights group formed in 1990 as a watchdog on surveillance and privacy invasions by governments and corporations. PI is based in London, England, and has an office in Washington, D.C. We have campaigned across the world to protect people against intrusion by governments and corporations that seek to erode this fragile right.

and also from the site, this time a statement by Professor Noam Chomsky:

With the ominous drift towards a surveillance society, not least in Britain, and the undermining of privacy through exploitation of the internet, the work of Privacy International is becoming even more crucial than it has been in the past.  Congratulations on your past achievements, and hopes that they will provide a firm basis for the even more challenging tasks that lie ahead.

it would appear that Privacy International have a very passionate following/belief in privacy of the individual.  Thats great, its an opinion and certainly one that should be respected.  Moving on now to another site, this time Privacy.org and we again see invasions of privacy mentioned.  What I haven’t seen any of these champions of privacy mention is todays news:

It is being reported by multiple [1,2,3] sources that after an appeal in the High Court, Sex offenders can apply to have their names removed from the sex offenders register and it having previously been stated that the register was incompatible with their human rights.  So Sex offenders are entitled to a right to a private/family life and challenge their continued inclusion on the register?

I don’t want this article to be a debate on the despicable crimes that people have committed to be on the list, but the question I have to ask is why are not the privacy groups celebrating this ruling?  Surely they must be happy?  Is this not want they wanted?  If it is, why are they not writing about it and if its not then how can they advocate “the right to a private life for some but not others”.

The reason I write this article is not to create a flame war between my opinions of surveillance and Privacy groups, its more to show that you CANNOT have an umbrella opinion on an issue without coming across exceptions like the one you see here.  Surely if the right to a family/private life is so important then privacy groups must champion those rights for everyone, sex offender or not?

I wonder if these privacy groups have left this news alone purely because they know it will lose them support?

I would be very interested to hear others views.  Personally I feel that putting people on the register for life is completely right, no exceptions. I think often people forget that there are victims in these crimes who have had THEIR rights abused in the most horrendous way, shouldn’t we be supporting them?

Freedom of data? – “All data should be free”?

Moving on from the upsetting topic above, I have a different example of campaign.  We often see cited that copyright laws are draconian, flawed and unworkable in modern day.  Thats fine its someones opinion.  There are many (when talking about copyright infringement) who champion it by saying that “data is not property” and you “cannot steal data” etc etc.  Noble statements in order to promote a pro-piracy cause.

My question though is this, where are they when personal details are lost from databases (as we saw recently in the news) surely this “data” is fine to fall into other peoples hands? Afterall if they don’t agree with copyright and don’t believe you can “steal” data what is the problem?  Additionally why do people have a problem with supermarkets/shops selling shopping habits to other interested companies? Surely nobody (in their opinion) owns this data so it should be in the public domain?  Nobody can own it and if we say that the “individual” owns this data (for whom it corresponds to) why do people who infringe copyright have a problem understanding that the material they share also belongs to someone else?  Double standards? I’d love to hear your view.

I would also like you to consider what you would do if say your personal journal was copied without your permission and distributed freely.  How would you feel?  Would you celebrate that under the opinion “All data should be free” or would you say “Hang on a minute, this data is mine, I don’t want it shared”

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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