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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 23rd year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2017 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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But I don't have a Facebook page officer

10 February 2017

Everyone uses Facebook... right?

Well actually, no.

Does it matter?

Well yes, if you come from a Muslim country and want to visit the USA or gain refugee status there then pretty soon it may be essential to have a Facebook page before you arrive.

This information was revealed in a story published by Arstechnica this week.

At this point in time, the prospect of visitors and immigrants having to hand over their Facebook and other social media passwords is simply an idea being considered as an extension of an idea originally proposed by the Obama administration. Obama's guys were keen on requiring *all* visitors to the USA to list their social media presences but didn't actually involve handing over an passwords.

Under the new proposal, those who didn't (or couldn't) hand over their passwords would be shown the deportation door and denied entry to the USA.

Whilst I do have some grudging admiration for Trump's "no nonsense" attitude to some of the USA's most pressing issues, the prospect of having to disclose things like passwords to the US government does not sit well with me.

Of course it wouldn't be an issue in *my* case because I'm not from one of the Muslim countries on Trump's list -- and also because I would simply opt to walk myself to the deportation door, rather than hand over the keys to my social media presence.

The way the entire Western world is going has become really rather scary.

When I was a kid, we were told stories about the "evil" Soviets and the Stazi who ran East Germany.

Random checkpoints with demands for "papers please" were apparently one of the hallmarks of those oppressive regimes and were an anathema to those who lived in "the free West".

Sadly however, I've personally was stopped at random checkpoints four times last year and presented with a demand for my "papers" (well my driver's licence actually).

If I want to travel on some forms of public transport I also have to produce my identity papers (again, my driver's licence) and even when doing something as simple as withdrawing a few hundred dollars from the bank, my papers are again required.

Then there is the issue of surveillance.

In East Germany, many people had their phones tapped and their mail opened at random, supposedly to ensure the security of the state. Well knock me down with a feather but aren't all of our calls and emails being screened for keywords by "Five Eyes", allegedly for exactly the same reason?

Under Helen Clark's administration, the Prime Minister of NZ was also give the power to declare any person or group to be a terrorist organisation - without recourse to challenge such a declaration in the courts. Wow... this sounds pretty Stazi-like too!

So what the hell is going on with our freedoms and rights?

I shudder to think what the Western World will look like in another 20 years, now that this "thin end of the wedge" strategy to disempower the individual and empower the state has gotten underway so successfully.

Am I just being grumpy? Rather than mourning and criticising the rights and freedoms we're losing on an almost daily basis, ought I perhaps be celebrating the dwindling number that we still have?

Come on readers... tell us what *you* think.

How long before giving the state the keys to our social media accounts and the keys for our encrypted data and communications becomes a compulsory obligation under threat of imprisonment? After all, there's nothing quite as dangerous as paranoid politicians and bureaucrats -- is there?

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