Monday, September 24, 2012

Another reason politicians so detested

Recipients of Kenney missive wondering how government knows their sexual orientation
BY GLEN MCGREGOR, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
"OTTAWA — An email extolling the Conservative government’s record on gay rights has some recipients wondering how Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney knows their sexual orientation.

"The email from Kenney’s MP’s office sent Friday trumpets the Conservative government’s initiative to help gay and lesbian refugees..."
In the mid seventies, my cutting edge small business computer used 8" floppy disks, each with ¼-megabyte of data capacity. Later, we added a 10MB hard drive. The cost of adding this "massive" data storage, in 2012 dollars: $3-million per gigabyte. Recently, I bought a 32GB microSD card for a digital audio player. The cost of data storage in 2012 dollars: $1.10 per gigabyte.

Information is collected and stored today with few costs incurred by the gatherers. That's fine if they're digitizing and circulating significant literary works, not so great if they're accumulating private life details on every citizen in the nation.

Last week, chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand was interviewed by The Canadian Press about personal information collected by Canada's political parties.
"What's been a surprise to me so far is how easy it can be misused. That, I think, has not been foreseen in these cases.

"We know also that parties are gathering a fair bit of information to target their activities toward various demographic groups. But again, little is known about how this information is gathered, how long it's retained, what happens when there's a breach ... what level of security does exist around access to this information, is it used only for the purpose of election campaigning?

"Generally, the data collected by parties is not subject to privacy legislation..."
Mayrand's investigators are looking at uses and misuses of the government party's Constituent Information Management System. That Conservatives collect detailed files on individual voters must stimulate at least a twinge of discomfort in Stephen Harper's soul, if he still has one.

Harper's roots are libertarian so vast collections of personal data ought to be anathema to him. Of course, as an opposition member, he spoke strongly against the Liberal government's use of omnibus bills. Now, Harper's gang is in love with kitchen sink legislation that minimizes debate and prevents scrutiny of Conservative lawmaking.

I wonder if Harper was a hypocrite from the start or if he ultimately succumbed to the lure of high office and is guided now by a single autocratic goal: stay in power.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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1 comment:

  1. It's good to have you back and hitting on all cylinders. I've been almost missing in action also over the summer and trying to get back to regular participation in the bloggosphere. The biggest challenge is so much absurdity in our world to choose from, so many idjits and so little time. Unfortunately many of the issues aren't really funny either, but one almost has to laugh at stuff to save oneself from committing felonies or going looney.

    This is an excellent piece and the point about the ever diminishing cost of data storage is well made and well taken. I comfort myself with the realization that at the end of the day, human idjits still have to make sense of the mass of data they accumulate, and when you think of all the stuff the most equipped and sophisticated agencies miss consistently, one can take some succor. Perhaps the public should consider the tactic of overwhelming thus who want to know everything with mega false leads down dead end paths.

    They missed out on seeing 9/11 coming (maybe on purpose) even though all kinds of indications like student pilots in Minn. and Florida who weren't interested in learning to land, security briefings ignored by Bu$h the Lesser and so on. They missed the recent attack on the consulate in Benghazi.

    Actually it seems the only terra dude plots that are foiled by the police are those that are dangerously close to sting operations where the cops are involved selling the fake bombs to the so-called terrorists.

    The recently intercepted Christmas bomber over Detroit (the underwear guy) didn't even have a passport or visa, and thus shouldn't have been allowed to board at his point of orgin. It too often seems as if these "foiled plots" are just served up whenever the populace seems to be forgetting that they are supposed to be scared, very scared!

    BTW, does anyone know if John "frothing at the mouth" Baird received one of these e-mails from Kenney. I admire Rick Mercer's position that those in high and visible places shouldn't be closeted - the realization of how many folks that the haters otherwise respect may have different sexual preferences would go a long way towards eliminating the ignorance, fear and controversy.

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