Most of us consider privacy to be a sacred jewel and it is necessary to protect it. It is none of anybody’s business who you meet frequently with, what are your habits or where you spend your free time. This information is not intended for the public, that’s why we aren’t used to telling them to everybody. You live in illusion, if you believe that it is very easy to protect your own privacy. Maybe you don’t think that you carry very efficient surveillance equipment every day absolutely willingly. The number of these bugs is running into billions. Many of us own two or more of these devices. Have you already guessed what I am talking about? The right answer is “a mobile phone“.
A mobile phone is a necessity for most of us, but most of us aren’t aware of the fact that a mobile phone can spill the beans about us. Mobile providers don’t only have data about phone and fax communication including calling times and called phone numbers, but also data about text messages, e-mail communication, visited webpages and use of internet services. It isn’t a problem for them for you to be exactly localized and tagged according to your mobile phone.
It is good news that such data isn’t of much interested for mobile providers. If you spend lots of time on phone calls and if you pay in time, everything is all right. And now for the bad news: according to EU directive data retention storing, a state can demand this data from mobile providers and command for the data to be stored for a long time and for it to also be provided to the police for their use. No matter if you are a suspicious person or a culprit. If mobile providers store all the data, it isn’t a problem to find out where you were exactly five months ago on Monday, the 12th, ten minutes past noon. Sometime even judicial permission is not required.
Fortunately, not every state and country agree with this EU directive and they don’t desire to oversee their citizens like “big brother“. This directive was repealed e.g. in Germany, Romania, Cyprus and in the Czech Republic. It is taken into consideration, to re-establish blanket spying in the last mentioned country. Why? Reportedly it is an important tool which is used by detectives. Supposedly, it is a lever for combat terrorism and it is said that more criminal cases will be solved and that more criminals will be captured. It sounds logical, but it seems that it’s a big mistake. It was disproved according to recent official statistics, that a detection rate of criminal activity would be increased by using localization data. Criminal investigators were even more successful in clear-up rates, when the use of data from mobile providers was banned in the Czech Republic. So what is the real use of this snooping around and what good will it actually do? Is this a gun against criminals or against each of us, no matter if we break the law or not? And who can actually have access to our personal data? If we don’t want to only be puppets in this game of directives, laws and tendentious decisions, we have to ask exactly these questions.