Meet Your New Stalker – Michael McDowell

This man is stalking you

Imagine coming home one day to find the Gardai inside your house, going through everything, taking photos and taking fingerprints, questioning your neighbours, going through your photo albums. When you ask them what they’re doing they tell you they are gathering evidence on you and going back through three years of your activities. So naturally you ask what you are suspected of. “Well” they say, “we dunno, we’ll work on that next, but for now we are just gathering the information as it prevents terrorism.” “Remember Omagh”, they say and stare at you.

So such a thing would never happen. That’s far too big brother and so forth. Well it is happening now when it comes to your electronic and digital life. The Government brought in a bill which allows them to retain data on you for up to three years. Unilike a phonetap, a Minister does not need to approve this and there is no judicial oversight. There was talk that the EU might class such measures as these as illegal, however the Justice Ministers in most EU countries are now pushing a law through the EU Parliament which endorses what McDowell is doing, though to an extent that McDowell thinks is too weak. This EU Law needs to be stopped in its tracks. This law is being voted on in Brussels on Tuesday.

Here is a list of contact details of the Irish MEPs(Word Doc). I suggest downloading it and contacting every MEP from your constituency and tell them you did NOT mandate them to vote for a law that effectively says you are guilty until you can be proved innocent. Just to note Simon Coveney’s contact number ends in 417 and not as it states in the doc.

Every email, every website and everyone you call on your mobile is going to be noted. What’s worse too is that they are building an investigative system to watch you and then they’ll figure out crimes. Right now they are talking about “serious crimes” but the record companies want to class filesharing as serious crimes. So they could be given access to what you did for the past three years online. These record companies now are going after websites that display song lyrics for god’s sake. Recommending a song to a friend will have us sued next.

This is all being done to prevent terrorism says the Justice Ministers, except for the fact that terrorists are a clever bunch, that’s how they’ve been so successful in murdering and causing disruption. So they’ll just do what they always do and use their brain to get around these systems which is easy enough to do if you want to do it. In this draconian future there’ll be data on everyone except terrorists as they’ll be using encryption and other means to route around monitoring systems.

Of course I have more bad news. You’re paying for it all. All the telcos and ISPs have been told they have to pay for all these monitoring systems. They’re going to pass it on to you naturally. So, we have the highest mobile and Internet bills in the EU and they are now going to jump up yet again. There is a chance the Govt will subsidise the telcos and the ISPs but who’ll be paying that but the taxpayer?

After going through all your stuff, (I hope you gave the nice gentlemen a cup of tea while they did so) the Gardai say goodbye and then hand you a bill for their “work.” We have pay to play, we have pay per view, we have pay per click, now we have pay per stalk. Thanks Michael.

Go email and ring your MEPs and TDs while you still can and while you can still afford to.

Digital Rights Ireland overview of this vote.

2 Responses to “Meet Your New Stalker – Michael McDowell”

  1. […] Read more here, here, here, here (NB: PDF), here, here, here, here (NB: doc). […]

  2. adam says:

    I don’t want to minimise the awfulness of this government idiocy, but I do think the metaphor is a tad flawed Damien. While there’s certainly an element of intrusiveness, it’s not the same as coming into your house and rooting through all your stuff.

    It is, however, very much like them being in your house, and with you as you travel around, all the time. They’re watching you when you go to sex up your lady or man (porn), they know what illnesses you have (online pharmacies), they know what you read and what you listen to (online shopping), they know if you’re a slut or having an affair (dating sites), they know your political interests, and of course all of you hobbies and interests.

    Of course they’ll say you have to get a warrant to actually access this information, but for one, given the Irish government’s proven inability to implement IT projects, do we really believe that they can protect us from intrusion on what’s /already/ been intruded upon? Even that isn’t the main concern though, because we have to ask ourselves: Would we accept this in real life? Of course we wouldn’t. So why is ok when it’s done electronically? Is isn’t, obviously, however our press is just too stupid to recognise it for what it is.

    It’s the media that’s at fault here. The government certainly carry a portion of the blame, but that’s what goverments do. It’s up to the media to draw the public’s attention to it.

    The answer? Clear out the closet. Get some clue on board. IT isn’t rocket science, if the media aren’t clever enough to understand it, they should find another career. Like that’s gonna happen…