..."Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to control the flow of information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively." says the good old Wikipedia. It's not been a good week for privacy as the personal details of millions of British citizens and their children go missing. Join a social network on the internet and you agree that they can and will collect data about you to "enhance your user experience." They will also collect data about you from third parties and broadcast your shopping habits to all and sundry. I was actually wondering whether I should post copies of my bank statements on my blog just to prove that I've nothing to hide, which in my case would quite literally be the case. Where will this all end? Is it perhaps not time to go offline and live an analogue life? Well the government has put pay to that illusion. You can't even claim child benefit without living in fear of your private details going lost. As Privacy International says, "criminals need to have only a basic level of information about an individual. They can then use resources such as public records or the Internet to fill in gaps. Social engineering tactics such as impersonation will then ensure that they can take over a person’s identity.”
“NI numbers, address data, date of birth and bank details are more than enough to nourish even the most incompetent criminal.”
There must surely be a growing mistrust of all kinds of electronic data storage and the uses, or rather misuses, to which it is being put. What about data protection? The very concept seems to be an illusion. Fast forward in time...The Gruaniad November 2017...Privacy shock as copy of entire national identity database is lost when junior civil servant loses mobile phone at Thanksgiving party in Amsterdam (known over there as the Cannabis Cup). When questioned by police the official said he had forgotten to send the details of the register to the National Audit Office before popping over for a naughty weekend in Dam. Far fetched? Remember that the records and bank details of 25 million people were on just two CDs! Recently I've had loads of spam claiming to be from banks with whom I never opened an account. I even get spam on Skype! Every day we lose a little bit more of our privacy one way or another and the increasing use of public and private partnerships means less, not more, security and protection of our data. A government that is so incompetent is not fit to govern.