Prompted by the quite astounding - you couldn't make this stuff up - report from the BBC today regarding The Home Office's apparent "collusion" with Phorm, to think and post some more about this issue of privacy and trust, into which a number of hitherto unrelated threads are converging.
The Home Secretary was yesterday reported as demanding new laws to match new communications realities.
"Communications data is an essential tool for law enforcement agencies to track murderers, paedophiles, save lives and tackle crime," Ms Smith said. "Advances in communications mean that there are ever more sophisticated ways to communicate and we need to ensure that we keep up with the technology being used by those who seek to do us harm."
Well, hmmm. OK.
But I want to make a different - I believe both more subtle and more powerful point here.
Accepted - with some reservations - that law seeks to meet criminals with comparably sophisticated resources. Sounds alarmingly similar to the "big gun > bigger gun > biggest gun" escalation we've seen in the past, an argument that we'll lose if we can't outgun the bad guys. However ...
A cultural and social change that connectness brings, that is given little coverage, is the fact that, just as networks and rich-featured mobile extend my reach and range in terms of communication, they also carry my very Identity out into this world that The Home Office sees as so hostile.
Pre-Web Smiley-styley spy games - and the various forms of surveillance they entailed - largely stopped short of invading citizens' personal space. Today when say BT stores details of my usage of Facebook, LinkedIn and my various email accounts and web surfing (I have to say I just don't trust that this much-protested "contact not content" stance is entirely honest), my new "distributed self", as opposed to the one that pre-connectedness was more or less confined to my own physical body, my usage of the Royal Mail and the odd (Bakelite) phone call, is very tangibly recorded.
Just as the medium is the message, surely the contact to a significant extent, IS the content.
My experience of being human is transformed, highly distributed, across both space and time through connectedness. With or without the obfuscation and dissembling we're so weary of, just because these kind folks are not (yet) kicking our doors in doesn't mean they're not, in a very real sense, inside our heads.