Irish Politician: Data Retention Is Good If You Have Nothing To Hide... But Don't Ask For My Data

from the apparenly-you've-got-something-to-hide dept

Thanks to reader eoinmonty for alerting us to the news that Ireland is debating a new data retention bill that seems to have similar problems to many other data retention bills: which is that it pays little attention to individual privacy rights or the fact that retaining the data is a costly mess for communications companies, and having all that data tends to make it more difficult to actually find the useful data. But a bigger point worth mentioning is the sheer hypocrisy of some supporting the bill. For example, politician Niall Collins trotted out the bogus "if you've got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" line that is a sure sign a politician doesn't know what he or she is talking about. As if to prove the point, Collins was then asked if he would be willing to provide his mobile phone bills and data on his email usage for the past two years (as the bill requires) he claimed not to understand the question and then refused to do so. Obviously, based on his own logic, we can only conclude that Niall Collins has something to hide.


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  1.  
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    slacker525600 (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    duh

    he is a politician, or course he has something to hide.

     

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  2.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:03am

    Re: duh

    I believe the phrase is : "if you are in a government position and what you did is 100% ethical then why are you being so defensive?"

     

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  3.  
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    Richard, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    too funny

    so, naturally this is the end of his campaign for data retention?

    I mean if he were to continue it would be blatant hypocrisy?

     

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  4.  
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    Enrico Suarve, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: duh

    Is that like a grown up way of saying "I'll show you mine if you show me yours"?

     

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  5.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    Re: too funny

    If only 'blatant hypocrisy' was an absolute defense against politicians....

     

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  6.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    a good us vs. them argument

    "if you've got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"

    I always liked that line. It's so subtle that no one notices that it means absolutely nothing. Everyone has something to hide. That hidden something and an illegal (or immoral) something are two completely different things. Do you want people to know you pick your nose? How about drinking 12 cups of coffee? Maybe that you like staring at the sky and making animal shapes out of clouds? Nothing illegal or immoral, just something that you don't want to talk about.

    Yes, I have plenty to hide so screw you.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:55am

    Re: a good us vs. them argument

    oh precious ice cream bar... no one can know about our forbidden love!

     

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  8.  
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    chris (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Re: a good us vs. them argument

    That hidden something and an illegal (or immoral) something are two completely different things. Do you want people to know you pick your nose? How about drinking 12 cups of coffee? Maybe that you like staring at the sky and making animal shapes out of clouds? Nothing illegal or immoral, just something that you don't want to talk about.

    the best example of the need for privacy that i have seen is going to the bathroom.

    everyone does it. absolutely everyone. there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, and yet not many of us want to do it in plain view of others.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:15am

    "if you've got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"

    Yeah, that's the ticket. You don't mind if the Gestapo... err... FBI kicks in your door every once in a while to make sure that there is nothing bad going on there, right? I mean, if you have nothing to hide, you will only be inconvenienced for a short time while they go through all your belongings. Think of all the crime we can prevent!!

    This is the only logical, end result of that sort of thinking. What scares me is that many citizens think this way these days.

     

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  10.  
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    TheStupidOne, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re: a good us vs. them argument

    Privacy is important, everyone has secrets, and everyone has done something against the law. I do not want people knowing how 'regular' I am. I don't need anybody to know the speeds I normally drive at. The government has no business investigating my bedside manners. I don't want authorities to be aware of where I am at every moment of every day.

    I'm not paranoid nor a conspiracy theory nutjob. I'd just rather not have John Q FBI agent looking over my shoulder as I watch pornography.

     

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  11.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:25am

    Re:

    yeah it has to do with fear mongering to gain control over the population.... scary stuff .... along with the political cry ... "Its not your fault your are poor, stupid, and starving... its the "XXXX"'s fault"

    for "XXXX" insert .... jew, white, black, indian, chinese, terrorist, lawyers, politicians, etc.......

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:08am

    Re:

    Yeah, that's the ticket. You don't mind if the Gestapo... err... FBI kicks in your door every once in a while to make sure that there is nothing bad going on there, right? I mean, if you have nothing to hide, you will only be inconvenienced for a short time while they go through all your belongings. Think of all the crime we can prevent!!

    This is the only logical, end result of that sort of thinking. What scares me is that many citizens think this way these days.

    It's even scarier that there are a quite a few people who would also agree that having the FBI kick in your door periodically to "stop crime" would be a good idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:19am

    Lock and load

    Okay, since you guys have all pretty much said all the things I normally say in response to this type of thing, I'll go back to the article:

    "which is that it pays little attention to individual privacy rights or the fact that retaining the data is a costly mess for communications companies, and having all that data tends to make it more difficult to actually find the useful data"

    But finding data useful in catching criminals simply isn't the point of this type of legislature. If the wealthy elite that have been attempting to consolidate world power for the past few hundred years learned ANYTHING from the time between 1800-1950, it's that you can't sieze power/control quickly, because people get pissed and they fight back.

    Instead what you do is encroach slowly and incrementaly. That's how you get an America with nationalized banks and automanufacturers, an Echelon Spy Network that was created to spy on the Russians now pointed domestically, and a Federal stanglehold over state's rights. In fact, it's similar to the freeconomic theory of marginal costs in that, while the difference in our total freedoms compared between today and 1850 might be vast, it's infintismal in comparison with the LAST encroachment, so most people don't notice, or buy into the lying rhetoric of politicians.

     

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  14.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re:

    "This is the only logical, end result of that sort of thinking. What scares me is that many citizens think this way these days.

    It's even scarier that there are a quite a few people who would also agree that having the FBI kick in your door periodically to "stop crime" would be a good idea."

    If you haven't already, do some reading on the parralels between America today and Germany in the 1920's. It's kind of freaky.

     

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  15.  
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    The mechanic, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:32am

    Nothing new here

    All Irish Politicians and most Irish businessmen have something to hide. Goes double for Northern Ireland.
    The system there is almost as screwed up as it is in South Carolina. It's all about who you grew up with and how many Euro, Pounds, Dollars or crotches you have to spread about.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 11:39am

    Re: duh

    Q: How do you tell the politician has something to hide?
    A: His body hasn't decomposed yet.

     

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  17.  
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    Cyanid Pontifex (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: a good us vs. them argument

    Exactly. Everyone goes to the bathroom, but how many people would be willing to do so in a glass booth at the center of Times Square?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: a good us vs. them argument

    "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." -- Cardinal Richelieu

    "Let them bring me prisoners, and I will find them law." -- Robert Macqueen, Lord Braxfield

    "As long as there's a person, there will be an article [in the criminal code]" -- attributed to Joseph Stalin.

     

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  19.  
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    Chris L, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Data Retention

    I am in canada and have notice similar over broad legislation coming to light here as well and that question always comes up. My standard repsonse is as follows:
    Who decides what "wrong" is, and what happens when your definitionstarts to disagree with the government? What happens when the government decides that simply talking about its foreign policies is suspect and your every move is tracked, both physically and electronically? It is currently happening illegally with many peacefull activist groups, especially those questioning our reasons
    for being in Afghanistan as an example. The very over broad wording of the legislation (here in Canada) would allow full access to personal information without judical review, which is anathema to the very foundations of a free and democratic society.
    This particular bill (c-47) would have to be reworded to more accurately define when and under what circumstances these unfetterred intrusions would take place.
    Language is precise, especially in the legal field and when
    Legislation starts cropping up that is over broad, and in direct contravention of our very Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and is in turn not open to public discussion, it makes me think back to some lessons we should have learned back in 1936 or so (I seem to recall a somewhat zealous mustachioed fellow who pulled the same sort of
    shenanigans and we all know how that turned out), and I start to wonder what our governments have to hide. If our various governments feel that similar legislation is somehow necessary to keep us safe, then they, or at
    least ours, still must work within the confines of our Constitution.
    The idea that "if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about" assumes that the government is full of good people that would not abuse their power, ever. Even if this were true now, (and I have seen much evidence of late that it is not) we cannot be sure it will be true in the future. And this is exactly why our Charter (based on our Bill of Rights, which is in turn based on the Magna Carta) is in place. To protect all citizens from abuses by the state, both current and future generations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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