Democracy Disrupted? No, It's Dead.
You're going to hear a lot of people shouting victory. Do yourselves a favour and listen to the facts and the dissenting voices instead. Just, for once, listen and take it in, because shiny things are slow death...
“We see a long-term pattern of fluffed action being repeated – responding to an act of war with a Culture Committee and the inadequate system of fines provided by the ICO and the Electoral Commission...The most we will ever see is a contaminated crime scene.”
It's been a year since I wrote those words in Alternative War, and it was as true then as it is now.
The ICO have done their best but they simply were not the right agency to deal with a complex assault on not just the UK, but Western democracy as a whole. They aren't, in truth, even data geeks. They are data policy geeks. And we've sent them out to deal with hybrid warfare, expecting them to come back with a clean win which would reset the scales.
I have bad news. Very bad news. We are done for.
"This is the death spiral of democracy, and the last collapse of a system designed to protect us in a world of yesterday."
In fourteen months they haven't scratched the surface. In fact, they've only had to respond to media events of the last few months because they've been forcibly prompted by this bizarre obsession we've developed with treating suspects as witnesses.
Facebook is getting a fine which equates to pocket change – and it's not even guaranteed they'll have to pay the damn thing. Others have been sent letters. The truth is, we are no nearer to anyone being taken to task than we were when nobody even knew about the scandal of big data and espionage infesting our political systems.
I hope everyone realises that, when you hear an enforcement agency saying it is focusing on future policy change rather than just the action it can take, it's an admission they just can't do what needs to be done. Worse still, this policy change is wholly reliant on putting the idea of it to the very parties the same agency is investigating.
What's happened, and I'm going to say this bluntly and simplistically, is our very structures of regulation have let suspects manage the crime scene and the same people will now sit as judges on their own cases.
"Reality has arrived, it's brutally ugly, and you need to confront it: nobody is going to save you."
You can't have a functioning democracy where it controls the electorate. You can't. Because that isn't a democracy, it's the other thing. The despotic dictatorships democracy was designed to prevent.
Reality has arrived, it's brutally ugly, and you need to confront it: nobody is going to save you. The only realistic options left are for individuals to take control of their personal information, cutting the manipulation of populations off at source. And this brings the worst news of all, because the most effective method of resistance we have is the continued use of the same technology. This is the death spiral of democracy, and the last collapse of a system designed to protect us in a world of yesterday.
I've got to hand it to the architects of this. It really was cheaper than bullets.