New bugging laws - Be discrete

In a society so comfortable with discretion bordering on secrecy it may be difficult to grasp the full extent of how the minutiae of our lives can be trawled by the algorithms driving social media and so much more of today’s communications technologies.

Secrecy or even basic privacy is almost as rare as solitude; everything we do online is visible to anyone who really wants to see it as long as they have the right tools and expertise.

The Government has made proposals around new bugging laws but the State’s human rights watchdog is worried the changes might lead to a surge in requests from domestic or foreign security agencies to pry on telephone and online communications.

Issues around what constitutes the “security of the State” and “serious crime” arise. So too does the age-old almost unanswerable question: who polices the police?

In the face of these quandaries, and the relentless conquests of social media it seems we will have to develop an entirely new, far more responsible attitude to what we reveal online. Discretion is now indeed the better part of valour.

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