surveillance & privacy

Off we go again – snoop snoop nnngggggg aaargh

Home Secretary Theresa May wants to look at your browsing history

Home Secretary Theresa May will announce plans to give Police the power to view the web browsing history of everyone in the country when she introduces the Government’s new surveillance bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

You are talking to confused of Lincoln here. On the one hand I want the government to catch spies, terrorists, child molesters, cyber criminals etc etc etc. On the other hand I don’t want a 15 year old kid being able to hack in to the database where all my personal online activity is stored and being able make use of what could be very interesting data to someone. If the database doesn’t exist then the kid/crook/etc won’t be able to hack it.

An offline existence seems to be quite an attractive proposition at the moment. One where I can make sure all my doors and windows are locked before I go out and the burglar alarm is set. A life where I don’t wake up in the night and pick up my phone to see what goes.

On the other hand I just bought a book – Venice by Jan Morris. I got it from Amazon, who store my credit card details and inside leg measurement. Had I used offline means to buy the book I would probably never have found it in the first place.

I wanted the book because Anne and I are off to that city in January courtesy of a flash online sale by BA. I found out about the sale via Slack, an IM platform that LONAP uses for intra team communication. BA too have my credit card data and know that I prefer an aisle seat (1C depending on the plane).

Before clicking “buy” I was able to check the reviews of the hotel in Venice. I didn’t go for the first hotel and also opted to upgrade to a room with a view of the Grand Canal, thanks to the reviews. I may use Uber to get me to the airport and quite possibly on another occasion AirBnB to find somewhere to stay.

So the 15 year old kid will be able to watch me take off and then go and burgle my house before heading off himself to a sunny spot (sunnier than Venice in January) paid for with my credit card.

A holiday at home is starting to sound good. I’d amble out and buy a paper every morning. Chillax in a cafe in Lincoln’s Bailgate with a pal, watch the people go by and then buy a few bits and a nice fresh crusty loaf before ambling home for lunch. In the afternoon I may attempt to catalogue my book collection whilst listening to some music on my record player (or possibly a CD if the vinyl is scratched).

Presumably I’d phone a friend to see if he (or she) fancied a coffee or it could be a long standing arrangement (if it’s Tuesday…). I wouldn’t use Facebook…

I’m just a crazy mixed up 53 year old. Is it a generational thing? The demographic 20 years older than me tends not to have an internet connection. They are the dwindling number of people in the UK without broadband. Am I part of a generation with one foot either side of the technological divide who can remember the days before the internet but has until now totally embraced it and who now grows dizzy in this data whirlwind of a world in which we exist.

HELP HELP I cry. I don’t know what to do. I’m just one entry in a database. And anyway I’m off away for the weekend – Durham and York. But then you knew that didn’t you…

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

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