Firstly, put aside your political loyalties. Secondly, don’t bother worrying about mine, as I am a generally very selfish person when it comes to this stuff, and care first and foremost about my interests and the interests of those that matter most to me.
Whenever issues arise in this country, we are blessed with an array of inept TV stations that blabber on whatever their political financiers pay them to market. One example of such issue is the “data” controversy, especially after the attempted assassination on Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea last week.
The 14 March cheerleader TVs and media have been portraying the refusal of Sehanoui to hand over the entire data of the whole of Lebanon to the Informations Branch (IB) in the Internal Security Forces (ISF) as putting the fate of Lebanon on the line. As if the life of this country depended on the text messages I exchange with my girlfriend.
On the other hand, the ruling parties are portraying themselves as champions of personal freedom and privacy, when Hezbollah is a religiously-fueled ideological movement famous for obliterating personal freedoms for the greater causes they believe in.
So, both are selling us cheap talk and pretending to be something they’re not, or making things appear in a way that is not factual, or even logical for that matter.
My stance on this is hell no, why the hell should anyone obtain all my telecoms information and have the ability to manipulate it as they see fit?! The attempt on Geagea’s life is alarming and no effort (within the law and democracy) should be spared to prevent similar incidents. But, under no circumstance whatsoever will I give up my constitution-given (or god-given, whatever floats your boat) right to my privacy. I am not a terror suspect, why the hell should all my calls and texts be in the hands of people who can easily manipulate it to look as if I had called up one of you guys and was planning to plant a bomb?!
That’s when it comes to the moral aspect of such an absurd claim. Legally, there are proper channels that include the judiciary system for security forces to obtain telecom data. Of course, the data has to be for a given period of time, given geographical location and to persons of interest in a particular investigation. According to this article by The Daily Star, the three judges who handle these requests, unanimously declined the request by a security forces branch (probably the IB) to obtain the telecom data of everyone in Lebanon.
So, whether you’re a government loyalist, or an opposition member, or preferably neither, don’t let all the bullshit politicians vomit on TV sets let you think twice: your data is no one’s business, and it should stay that way. Someone once said you shouldn’t sacrifice your rights and freedom for security, and that someone was absolutely right. So, security forces, lay off the fried chicken and do your job instead of illegally obtaining Lebanese people’s data en-bloc, which honestly I don’t trust them with.
As for the claims that Hezbollah gets that data, no one can say for sure, but if Hezbollah is breaking the law, doesn’t mean our police forces can do the same.
Also, Geagea made the assassins look like they’re something straight out of a Mission Impossible movie. Do you really think they’d call up each other on cellphones and send texts with “lol” and “brb”?!
My personal data if off-limits, unless I’m a terror suspect. Full stop.