Privacy: Post-9/11 & Prescott


by SajiniW
30th May, 2006 at 3:32 pm    

Defined as ‘the ability of an individual or group to keep their lives and personal affairs out of public view’, the concept of privacy can be applicable for individuals to stop information about themselves from becoming known to people other than those chosen to receive said information.

Well worth considering in the case of John Prescott. Whilst I’m very much in favour of fewer privileges for the croquet-fan from Hull, the coverage with regard to female voters is patronising to say the least. Christine McCafferty, MP for Calder Valley, opines that

‘many women voters are very unhappy that John is still in post. It does seem as if he’s benefited not to say been rewarded when he breached, in some people’s’ eyes, a moral code.’

The very notion of morality is a subjective thing. Given the fact Prescott’s conduct during the affair didn’t affect his completion of Ministerial responsibilities, the need for such villification is minimal when comparing the almost-congratulation that David Beckham, a public figure with increased responsibility as a role model, received for playing away from home. Times have moved on since the Profumo affair.

Onto more interesting matters – the European Court has finally thrown out a deal requiring EU airlines to hand over the personal details of all passengers on flights between Europe and the US. The deal required the provision of thirty-four pieces of information per passenger, inclusive of credit card details,as a security measure after the terrorist attacks in September 2001. The data would’ve been made available to the US within 15 minutes of take-off.

It’s interesting how the US can be seen to ‘criminalise’ all foreigners upon arrival what with their insistence on ‘iris-records’ and ‘fingerprints’. Exactly how far is too far when considering an individual’s right to privacy versus that of a nation?


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  1. Kismet Hardy — on 30th May, 2006 at 3:45 pm  

    People like politicians and celebrities should learn to live their public lives by adopting a forum mentality. If they went under names such as FoxyKuri006 or The Big Zen or the Karachi Chutney Ferret Marcher, then they could say and do pretty much what they like and still maintain their annonimity. After all, what tabloid would give the time of day to a paparazzi flogging pictures of Phat Phatima shagging Jeremy Pakman1982 in the broom cupboard.

    These so-called politicians and celebrities have much to learn from us.

  2. leon — on 30th May, 2006 at 5:00 pm  

    “Exactly how far is too far when considering an individual’s right to privacy versus that of a nation?”

    In my view; the amount of privacy someone should have should be relative to the amount of power they command.

    The more power they have the less privacy they should have.

  3. Don — on 30th May, 2006 at 5:37 pm  

    Unaccountable power has almost total privacy. How much do we know about Murdoch, the Barclay brothers, etc? But if Prescott so much a scratches his backside we get headline news – invariably including some reference to how fat and common he is.

  4. Amir — on 30th May, 2006 at 9:21 pm  

    Sunny,
    Spot on. The Beckham/Prescott juxtaposition is a fine example of cultural hypocrisy and double standards. The amount of bile and hatred and venom projected at Victoria Beckham (a doting mother) made my blood boil and curdle. I don’t care how many Versace skirts, Louis Vuitton bags, and Guci glasses she owns… nobody deserves to be blamed for their husbands’ lies, cowardice, and lascivious infatuation with anal sex (Beckham’s text messages to Rebecca Loos were utterly disgraceful for a married man and father of two).

    Exactly how far is too far when considering an individual’s right to privacy versus that of a nation?

    Again, spot on. More laws, more spooks, more surveillance will leave us poorer and less free, but they probably won’t stop a single bomb. It is pure purblindness to imagine that we can be totally protected against this – though, in practice, proper control of our borders and a police force that patrolled on foot would make a substantial difference.

    Amir

  5. SajiniW — on 31st May, 2006 at 8:08 am  

    Amir – Sunny? Since when have I been a boxed-bearded hippie (a lovely one, mind you, but still)?

    Don’s right about class – people love to knock the working class done good.

    Leon – does money equate to power or responsibility over others?

    Kismet – forums are a whole other mind game. Everybody knows a harddisk tells all.

    Look at Amir-the-Ebay-cheat from last week?

  6. IanLondon — on 31st May, 2006 at 1:52 pm  

    More laws, more spooks, more surveillance will leave us poorer and less free, but they probably won’t stop a single bomb.

    Yeah, probably

  7. Amir — on 31st May, 2006 at 2:29 pm  

    Ian London – these men were spied upon (and subsequently arrested) using existing state powers… no new ‘anti-terror’ laws.

    MI5 and MI6 used the same methods to capture Welsh language militants from Meibion Glyndwr.

  8. leon — on 31st May, 2006 at 3:23 pm  

    @ SajiniW, money doesn’t strictly equate to power but generally does (how many poor powerful people are there?)…

  9. IanLondon — on 31st May, 2006 at 4:18 pm  

    these men were spied upon (and subsequently arrested) using existing state powers… no new ‘anti-terror’ laws

    “Mr Khyam, Mr Garcia and Mr Hussain also deny a charge under the Terrorism Act of possessing 600kg (1,300lb) of ammonium nitrate fertiliser for terrorism.”

    Probably ;)

  10. Amir — on 31st May, 2006 at 5:11 pm  

    Ian London – they’d have to deny those charges under the 1974-1989 Prevention of Terrorism Act.

    The 2000 amendment contains these old clauses, but, in the spirit of New Labour’s growing authoritarianism, adds a number of shady ‘additions’.

    ;-) ;-) ;-)

  11. sonia — on 1st June, 2006 at 11:21 am  

    double standards are still double standards. why should it make a sh**t bit of difference if a politician is having an affair when everyone else does it? and before people say ooh its breaching of moral codes to have an affair – erm id say really? which moral code is that?! the point is people say this is a ‘liberal’ society except when it suits them to go all ‘traditional and moral’. some people are more traditional than others – as sunny as – its all relative.

  12. sonia — on 1st June, 2006 at 11:23 am  

    “It’s interesting how the US can be seen to ‘criminalise’ all foreigners upon arrival what with their insistence on ‘iris-records’ and ‘fingerprints’”.

    yes and for certain nationalities in the UK who have to ‘register with the police’ on arrival.

    and no doubt all of us when blair has his way with the ID cards!

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