My election notes. E-Day – 26

by Pseud O'Nym



The day after a cyber crime attack that infected computers all over the world, encrypting files expressly to extort money from users wanting to unencrypt them, wasn’t perhaps the best day to announce this;

Social media users will be able to demand that internet companies delete everything they posted online before the age of 18 under plans to be set out in the Conservative manifesto. Fines could be imposed on those firms that do not comply or fail to improve their protections for children.

Theresa May is placing the new digital safeguards at the heart of her manifesto in the hope of wooing parents who are worried about the dangers of the internet.
One key pledge will be a new entitlement for users to have the power to delete their records, comments and photographs from platforms such as Facebook or Twitter that were posted before they were 18. It will mean people can easily erase postings from when they were younger without entirely deleting their accounts.


Because to my mind, these two events are related. Certainly, one is far, more serious than the other, but they both highlight how deeply embedded in our daily lives computers have become. And because relatively few us understand exactly how they work – most of us only know what need to know – this exposes the Faustian pact that is inherent in our trust and dependence on technology.

I’m not wearing a tin foil hat as I type this and I recognise the seeming contradiction in critiquing our trust in computer technology, on a computer that will in turn be read on a medium that can only be accessed by computer. But that if anything neatly makes my point, inasmuch as everything reliant on computer technology is potentially vulnerable, and wordpress itself boasts on its log in page that it ‘powers 27% of the internet.’

The threat posed by ‘The Internet of Things’ is a well-documented phenomena. Hackers can if they so wish interfere with your cars steering functions, cripple banking operation or hijack children’s toys and turn them into cameras and much more.

Thankfully yesterday’s hack wasn’t targeting critical infrastructure locations, such as nuclear power stations. The Stuxnet attack on Iran’s nuclear programme is a sobering example.

And it highlights just how much politicans – no matter who wins the election – are constantly reactive and not proactive. Because, as the I.R.A. taunted the U.K government after the bomb attack at the Grand Hotel in Brighton narrowly missed killing Margaret Thatcher in 1984 had it “Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always.