Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A black box for your internet shananigans


This article reports on a possible new technology to be put out in the UK some time next year. The black box will be some sort of program that keeps track of all online activities and sends the information to a central government database.

This idea brings to mind the whole 'big brother is watching you' mentality. The English government would essentially know everything that everyone did online. I'm not a big expert in British law making so I have no idea how likely this sort of bill is to be passed, but I do know I hope our government doesn't get any ideas (or have they already?).

The really bad thing about this kind of forced surveillance would be an excellent way of stopping all kinds of p2p and file sharing sites and services. As soon as something is put up that people can trade over, the government would know about it and be able to take it down. The government would also be able to block certain content from being accessed. A world-wide internet black box could essentially halt any progression of the digital age becoming a read-write culture and make it a read-only culture.

I can't see people choosing (voting) to have this technology on their computers monitoring their activities. So I don't think that this idea will catch on, unless of course the government does it without permission, but I wont go into the subject of what the government does and does not tell us.


HAYNE said...

The black box idea is a really frightening thought; and you're right, it reminds me exactly of 1984. If this technology is actually applied by the UK, who can say that the internet is a truly free database anymore? How is the English government to keep track of every single person with internet though? I wonder if they're only to keep an eye on UK internet users.. would the potential legislation give them jurisdiction to internet users in North America or Asia? Would the government pass this without consent of its constituents? Sorry this comment is almost completely comprised of questions.. I just read over the article myself, and I feel very uncomfortable all of a sudden. Who wants a surveillance camera on their computer? Wouldn't all that maintenance just cost the government a LOT of money anyway?
They better not follow through with this.

Corey Laub said...

i agree that this is a very unnerving situation. Even more so because it is very possible for a bill like this to pass in the UK. Because of the Parliamentary system of government along with a unitary constitution, the bill would only need the approval of the House of Commons, who's members are all easily forced to vote for what ever their party whip tells them to, as well as not needing the approval of the constituent units.

ervolsen said...

I agree that its a scary idea - but I have a feeling they aren't going to be able to convince the population that its the best idea. If this does become a reality, I dont think it will for a long time to come.