It’s pretty fair in saying that throughout the world the laws regarding technology and computers are pretty confused. Even if you look at something like using computer based evidence in trials then we are increasingly finding situations where our current statutes simply don’t work in many circumstances. In the United Kingdom this particular problem has been covered by something called the Computer Misuse Act 1990 which is probably one of the most comprehensive acts regarding technology.
The internet is of course a huge problem for Governments for a variety of reasons. Most democratic nations wish to encourage free speech of course, yet they are also worried about how criminals and terrorists utlise technology to communicate and organise. This has led to a series of initiatives across the world designed to give security services more powers to monitor and track what everyone does online. Legally this causes huge problems with rights to privacy and personal freedom however it fails on another more simple level too.
For example in the UK they are implementing plans to allow certain organisations to access data on virtually all areas of electronic communication. From web browsing, Social networking, emails to SMS message on mobile phones everything will be stored and available to the police and other approved departments. The primary goal is to catch criminals and terorrists but of course they want to monitor everyone to achieve this. Herein lies the flaw, the technology exists to opt out of this monitoring – if you take a look at security and technology websites like – www.anonymous-proxies.org you’ll see loads of advice about software and techniques that allow you to hide your surfing and data. Anyone who is really up to no good is going to utlise these systems and the result will be that the Government will be simply monitoring the innocent who have nothing to hide and the criminals who don’t know how to use this technology.
Losing our privacy seems a high price to pay for such an ineffectual monitoring system. The risks to storing and utlising this much personal data are huge.