If the Justice Department subpoena prompts a wider debate about digital privacy, it will come at a valuable moment for British citizens too. As the Government rushes to track us on databases covering ID cards, medical records, children’s development, even real-time movements of our cars by numberplate recognition, we need to question the data security of their systems, their propensity to propagate inaccurate and often damaging personal histories, and the pernicious tendency for information collected for one purpose to be quietly extended to others completely unrelated. Most of all, we have to consider how prepared we are to tolerate the malicious uses to which our private information will inevitably be put. Whether it is 40 million credit card accounts hacked last summer, or the Merseyside council CCTV operators caught training their camera on a woman’s bathroom, the bad guys will inevitably get through.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
They really are out to get you
David Rowan thinks that Times readers should be glad Google has refused to hand over search data to the US government: