If I may take a leaf from Matthew’s web-book and point you in the direction of an excellent story in today’s Guardian. Choice Point, the information company behind the disenfranchising – accidentally of course – of thousands of US citizens during the 2000 presidential elections in Florida are back in the news.
Choice Point have been paid millions of the American taxpayer’s dollars by the Bush government (who they helped into power) to gather data on the citizens of other nations. No, we’re not talking about criminals, drug lords or terrorists here – they want info on every person in these countries, most of which are friendly nations. They have allegedly secured the entire electoral register of Mexico – a grossly illegal and immoral act – and are gathering data on the date of birth, employment, education, marital status, bank and passport details etc. of all adult citizens in countries like Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina and others. We have to assume Western Europe is on that list too. Quite why Uncle Sam requires this information on every citizen of neighbouring lands is not clear. Perhaps as with the spying on their own citizens – authorised by the so-called Patriot Act – it is to protect us from the Bad Men. Intercepting their own citizen’s emails and scanning their bank accounts while checking credit card details of tourist coming into the city and compiling dossiers on people all around the world – who are they protecting us from?
And who is going to protect us from them? If knowledge is indeed power our leaders – the British government is eyeing these moves up and planning an amended snooper’s charter that Blunkett tried to get through parliament last year – then our leaders are determined to get as much power over us as they can. Big Brother is alive and well long after 1984, complete with sinisterly-named Orwellian ministries, such as the Ministry of Homeland Security – eroding your rights to protect you. Spying on your citizens and allies, illegal obtaining of confidential data by suspect organisations, suspension of your democratic rights – who exactly is the bad guy now? Andy why do the American citizens stand for these repeated violations of all that is sacred to the American spirit? Keep reading and making your voice heard, people, we need to let these smeggers know we have teeth and that we’re watching them. We’re plugged into the planet, we’re smart and we have got power too – and nobody is going to take it from us without a fight, least of all our own ‘elected’ representatives.