Why is privacy important? In large part, because it ensures the ability of your Government and yourself to preserve your security. Why is amassing metadata centrally so dangerous? Because even if you think it's the good guys holding onto all your little nuggets that comprise your digital soul, you never know who's hands it will be in tomorrow, or next political term, or for what it will be used for and by whom if it doesn't go through the courts.
After all, there are criminals and disgusting human beings in all walks of life, even in the saintliest and selflessly lawful of organisations. At the moment, there are privacy policies and bureaucracy that aims to protect you and your privacy and security and the end result is little grubby fingerprints you leave speckled and spread out all over the world with your mobile phone and your porn sessions and your free e-mail and your Facebook likes and Facebook Platform tracking cookies on sites you've never visited before.
Companies and varying Government (both local and foreign....) agencies currently have to apply to get access to your digital soul by means of court orders and formal requests (regardless of whether its relating to an alleged crime or not) because no one party has all the information there ready to be plucked.
|The panopticon of today|
Now, we pay taxes and we buy products and services every day with the guarantee they will take utmost precaution with our data. Let me rephrase that, what guarantee? The TOCs we accept here, there and everywhere when entering contracts with different entities on a daily basis, exempt those large corporations and organisations from any repercussions and indemnify them.
Who loses in the end? You. Twice. First for providing them money for a sub-par good or service, and secondly you lose again as a result of your data being mishandled by these organisations, effectively abusing the trust you put in them. You'd think with all those millions and billions we give them every year, infact every day, they would have 'experts' working around the clock to protect your data with encryption and shiny data centres and expensive computers and efficient process? This isn't true. The culture of mis-management and risk mitigation is currently so pervasive in this corporate warfare landscape that it often prevents any legitimately preventative or remedial action from being taken until its far too late. People don't want to risk their jobs and it becomes an ass-covering exercise.
And more often than not, after it's too late, the organisations still do not 'do the right thing' and fix their systems and protect your data or even send you an apology or reimbursement, even after all those years of being a loyal customer or citizen, and effectively subsiding their growth by giving them all that money over the years.
They will allow it to happen again and again and again.
This is at the core root as to why these new metadata laws are a bad idea. Because the system/s will get hacked, it is statistically impossible that they won't ever be hacked, and yea well.. you get the idea.
Most companies and organisations do not report on data/security breaches, to preserve the facade that you can still trust them with your passwords and credit cards and family and medical records. So it is very difficult to find someone that will knows the entire truth, but we do know that security and law enforcement sectors have indiscriminate budgets. But here are some 'open sourced' statistics.
In mid-March 2015, there were 119,988 disclosed/publicly reported security breaches in Australia alone. Almost 1000 of these were on .gov.au sites, once again this was in March 2015 alone and the sample was taken just 15 days or so into the month.
So you have a look through the list of hacked sites and you think to yourself, well - 'johnsjamdonuts.com' site isn't a big deal, what kind of metadata could he have? Poor John can't even afford a computer guy to come and clean his computer from viruses! He doesn't have money like the big four or this or that Government department... They have experts and big budgets!
So, to contrast and exemplify the point of this article, I will share something that it over 3 years old but I only just found, and this is the complete history and timeline of the Sony breaches. I was instantly reminded of how dangerous centralising and amassing metadata is. Have a look through the list and look at what kind of personal details were disclosed to the entire world at large, and that is just 1 company singled out - we've already spoken about the hundreds and thousands of attacks that happen on a daily basis around the world, including your neighbourhood.
All of that from one single company... A large corporation mind you, of which I have the misfortune of owning very few products of, but many of you may not be so lucky.