Recently on Facebook I got into a discussion on why the government having unregulated access to any data on the internet is a thing I don’t like. In an attempt to stop posting content into the locked-box of Facebook, it’s here too.
So, the issue – for me, other people may be more militant – is that right now I – as a citizen – have no protection against the police. To arrest me, they need probable cause. To search my house, they need a warrant. To get my personal data from my bank, from my ISP, from my water company they need a legal document *about me* that explains why they want it and a judge has to approve it. The measures the government are currently using, the ones that they want to keep, and the ones they have been using on the *flimsiest* of legal technicalities, allow the security services to access and record my data (which includes financial transactions, personal relationships, business proposals, and data which I am under *legal obligation* to protect to the best of my ability to be not allow access by third parties) without notification, without record, without probable cause, and without protection from abuse. That’s me as a citizen.
Second issue is that I personally own a server, which provides internet services to people I know and trust. It’s SSH access, it’s email forwarding, it’s web hosting. Am I an ISP? Am I under obligation to keep the data that goes though my server? I’m not doing it as a business, I’m a private individual. If I do, then I simply can’t do it. First, morally, but also I don’t have the disk space to keep all this data for three years, and I’m not willing to be responsible for the security of it. That’s why I only forward emails in the first place. It will force me to cease to offer *to my friends* access to a property *that I own* because the government think they have a right to look inside it. It’s not quite being legally obliged to allow an employee to live in my house and record conversations I have when my friends are around, but it’s not far off.
And last, I am a white male, 18 to 35. I do not have any traditional reason to believe the government is predisposed to assume I’m guilty, and *I* have all these problems with the concept of my data being kept without any legal process; I can’t imagine the feelings of people who have good, and historically backed, reasons to believe the government does not have their freedom of expression at heart.