It seems that only natural disasters happen suddenly. Man-made ones begin small. The EU is adopting policies that secretly allow the police to hack into personal computers anywhere, at any time, for any reason – all without any judicial oversight, which would be the start of a man-made disaster.
According to the TimesOnline:
The hacking is known as “remote searching”. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room.
Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.
Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someone’s UK computer and pass over any material gleaned.
Make no mistake – this is the equivalent of the police knocking down your door and entering your house at any time.
The West is struggling to find ways to combat terrorism, which is arguably the result of globalism. The rise of China, India and the EU is creating a multi-polar world during a time when national and regional interests are jockeying for power in an evolving global power structure. Blatantly, some are taking advantage of the situation to consolidate power in unprecedented ways.
What about the technology? According to the same article:
Richard Clayton, a researcher at Cambridge University’s computer laboratory, said that remote searches had been possible since 1994, although they were very rare. An amendment to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 made hacking legal if it was authorised and carried out by the state.
He said the authorities could break into a suspect’s home or office and insert a “key-logging” device into an individual’s computer. This would collect and, if necessary, transmit details of all the suspect’s keystrokes. “It’s just like putting a secret camera in someone’s living room,” he said.
Now THAT’S bloody Orwellian by definition. Doubtless, the likes of Norton and McAfee will be directed to ignore these keyloggers a priori.
Police might also send an e-mail to a suspect’s computer. The message would include an attachment that contained a virus or “malware”. If the attachment was opened, the remote search facility would be covertly activated. Alternatively, police could park outside a suspect’s home and hack into his or her hard drive using the wireless network.
Police say that such methods are necessary to investigate suspects who use cyberspace to carry out crimes. These include paedophiles, internet fraudsters, identity thieves and terrorists.
The obvious flaw in this pale excuse is that a criminal investigation is a formal process that is presumably initiated for cause. The new police powers are not governed by cause, and lack any safeguards against abuse like random fishing expeditions.
The sum of all our PC-based activities has been labeled as the “Digital Self.” This electronic shadow of a human being is at risk, not by hackers, but by the people who are presumably there to serve and protect. When one considers the amount of information about a person, from financial information to medical history to online searches, the power held by the state not bound by law is as staggering as it is unacceptable.
Simply put, Europeans are being conditioned to surrender their privacy and consequently their control. It’s the Digital Age’s equivalent to the 1930s. No amassing of tanks and ships, but the increase in power of the state’s intrusiveness into people’s lives.
Do you have anything on your PC that you don’t want visible to some bureaucrat? With storage becoming infinitely cheap, governments can maintain a copy of your digital self and comb through it at will. All your purchases, searches, web surfing and correspondence can all be stored. Such omniscience in the hands of flawed human beings is a disaster to human freedom far more pervasive than Nazi Germany ever was. And, like that disaster, it begins small.