The ISF have issued a request for minister of telecommunication Nicolas Sehnaoui to hand out the much coveted and talked about data that has been sought for months and months now. He has refused their request.
The data in question contains the text messages you’ve sent, some of your email correspondences as well as BBM chats (didn’t know that was accessible) and social media information that’s available to them. As a result, the entire Twitter community is in an uproar over this as they tweet against ISF measures using the hashtag #ProtectPrivacy, after a request from minister Sehnaoui.
I don’t know how the ministry of telecommunication actually has my Facebook or Twitter passwords. I don’t know how they have access to my emails or how they can actually read my iMessages. Last time I checked, those happened over an encrypted connection that makes access to them very difficult. But I digress.
When it comes to all of this, my stance is that of the devil’s advocate. Why not let them have access?
Of course this access has to be controlled. I’m against open access for them to everything because that’s just absurd. If I’m not a person of interest, then my data should be off limit until a time when I become a person of interest and that’s proven via evidence that shows my possible connection with a crime. For the record, I am innocent! (Although that’s what a criminal would also say). But to say that data should be off limit in absolute terms and for everyone doesn’t really make me feel safe in a country where safety has become a fleeting sentiment that you get occasionally… when someone’s not getting blown up on a busy intersection at rush hour.
My privacy is important to me and I surely wouldn’t want everything I do be broadcast in some dark room somewhere in Lebanon’s Intelligence HQ. However, that’s the same thing criminals who are assassinating politicians and blowing up people would also say and are absolutely loving at the moment.
Eventually, the ISF doesn’t really care who you slept with or if you sexted someone other than your girlfriend/boyfriend. They don’t care where you went out for dinner yesterday or who you’re meeting up for lunch tomorrow. What they should care about is catching criminals and contributing to the safety of citizens in this country. An ulterior motive may exist. Perhaps all those Turkish soap operas are not enough. So that’s why we should have functioning courts that determine whether an ISF request for a person’s private data information is valid or not.
As a Lebanese citizen, I don’t care about someone getting controlled access to my privacy if it meant I don’t have to die for finishing work at 3 p.m on a Friday. #ProtectPrivacy? Honestly, I’d rather #ProtectSafety first and foremost.