Protests erupted in London over what the New York Times calls “plans by the government to give the intelligence and security services the ability to monitor the phone calls, e-mails, text messages and Internet use of every person in the country.” (italics ours) This even as the Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal is in full swing. (Murdoch’s minions surreptitiously listened to the voicemails of just about everyone, apparently, from ingénues to engineers, to find those leads that bleed. That’s different, you ask?) The expanded governmental powers of surveillance are proposed in order to keep the British citizenry safe, of course. Abuse thereof is not anticipated, promised the GCHQ, or Government Communications Headquarters, which will do the tracking.
It may be the case that the protests are—just as the proposed phone and email monitoring will be—unwarranted. Or at least useless. That is, if you really understand what Scott McNealy, former CEO of SUN Microsystems, meant when he said way back in the heady Internet days of 1999, when Google was just a year-old toddler: “You have zero privacy. Get over it.” That was then. That is now.