Thursday, May 8, 2014

Digital Peeping Toms: They Don't Even Bother To Hide Anymore

That is certainly the conclusion I drew after reading this morning's latest Star revelation about our overlords in Ottawa. Entitled Ottawa is ‘creeping’ your Facebook, the article by Alex Boutilier reveals yet more unwholesome intrusions into our privacy being conducted by the Harper regime.

In a January report to Parliament, interim privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier raised concerns about accountability in data sweeps of the Internet. She has now expressed those concerns directly in a letter to Treasury Chair Tony Clement:

An "increasing number” of government institutions are collecting publicly available personal information from sites like Facebook and Twitter “without any direct relation to a program or activity.”

“We are seeing evidence that personal information is being collected by government institutions from social media sites without regard for accuracy, currency and accountability,” ...

“Should information culled from these sites be used to make administrative decisions about individuals, it is incumbent upon government institutions to ensure the accuracy of this information; it is not at all clear that this obligation is being, or could be, met.”

Of course, the federal government had a tool for the culling of accurate information. It was called the mandatory long-form census, dismissed by the regime as 'too intrusive.'

So what was Mr. Clement's cavalier responce to these concerns?

“Canadians willingly put onto social media all sorts of information, so it should not be a surprise that corporations, individuals, good guys, bad guys, and governments are collecting the freely available information they put on social media sites,” ...

“This is all publicly available information. People freely make that choice.”

Stepping up his brazen tone, he is quick to reassure us that the regime is quite aware that some of the data they obtain in their digital peeping-tom mode may not be accurate, declaring that

... the government takes into account the unreliability of the data.

“We’re aware of that, so you have to take it with a grain of salt depending on what the information is used for”

When asked what that use might be, he could offer no concrete examples.

In a belated attempt at damage control, Orwell's Clement's office sent the following to The Star:

“The government of Canada takes the privacy of Canadians very seriously. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is looking into this issue, in collaboration with the office of the privacy commissioner,” spokesperson Heather Domereckyj said in an email.

Doublespeak. Government Surveillance. Enemies of the State. All is in place, and in the twisted ethos of the Harper cabal, all is well. Everyone may now return to their workstations, and please, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

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