Once upon a time, London was the world’s most-surveilled city. This position has since been usurped by Chongqing, a city in the Sichuan province which boasts one hundred sixty-eight cameras per one thousand people. Perhaps upset over the loss of their title, Boris Johnson has decided it’s high time that the UK began compiling records of its citizens’ web traffic.
tl;dr: Here’s an executive summary based on my reading of the linked article.
- Currently, the various parts of the government collect analytics on how people use their websites.
- BoJo would like to combine all of this data, creating profiles of how each individual uses the whole government’s online offerings.
- This is to be done ASAP and in secret. The rationale for this is mumble mumble Brexit.
- This data will be “anonymized”, which is not particularly meaningful at this level of specificity. While an analyst armed with this database would not be able to find a person’s usage by searching for their name, the same analyst could easily derive a person’s name from their usage.
Drilling into some detail now:
Boris Johnson has secretly ordered the Cabinet Office to turn the government’s public internet service into a platform for “targeted and personalised information” to be gathered in the run-up to Brexit, BuzzFeed News has learned.
In a move that has alarmed Whitehall officials, the prime minister has instructed departments to share data they collect about usage of the GOV.UK portal so that it can feed into preparations for leaving the European Union at the end of next month.