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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Standards destroy privacy

From: Simon Waters
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Standards destroy privacy
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 15:12:30 +0100

Andrew Savory wrote:
> He presents the case that because these databases (Tax, VAT,
> Vehicle licenses, TV licenses, Health etc.) are all implemented
> using incompatible proprietary systems, information about us
> cannot be cross referenced and that this constitutes an
> important safeguard to our privacy (we have no constitution in
> the UK).

Which begs the question what did the Police and security
services do with all that hardware they bought?

Am I the only person who believes cross referencing government
databases might make the world a better place? Lower my taxes,
and limit benefit fraud? I live in the hope that one day when my
tax returns drop, instead of starting an investigation the IR
computer cross references my medical record, and decides that it
probably knows the answer.

Privacy isn't bought at the technology level, it is not
governments use of the data that is likely to lead to an
invasion of privacy, but misuse of the systems by those involved
with them, which needs to be addresses by both technical and
non-technical measures.

I fear mistakes in cross referencing and correlating data from
diverse and incompatible sources, and people tapping in on
behalf of private investigators, far more than I fear any
conceivable official uses the government might put this
information to. 

Witness a poor friend who shared the same name as a known drug
dealer and who got (gets?) stopped and searched every time he
goes through customs, now if the records showed that the dealer
in question was in prison at the time.....

"You have zero privacy... get over it" - Scott McNealy

 And of course it is horribly off topic for the aims of the
group, although I think it'll be of interest.

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