I used #BBCAskThis…

… to bring up issues I think have been as yet overlooked in the campaign leading up to the UK general elections. I have no idea whether the questions will be considered – I made them out in writing and the BBC said they should be in cute, video selfie format, which I don’t do.

Journalism is proving a harder addiction to shake off than I previously imagined.

I digress. Here they are, in case anyone’s wondering what a Romanian immigrant with no right to vote believes are important political issues:

1. The Data Protection Act. I wrote a series about this a while ago for Private Eye (cuttings below).

The Data Protection Act doesn’t cover metadata, which can be highly personal, it doesn’t always cover biometric data, and it doesn’t cover the unique identifiers of your mobile device, which are detectable by sensors in the public space and then can be traced back to the unique, human user. Do any of the party leaders know the current scope of the Data Protection Act and have they any plans to broaden it in order to improve legal protection of human dignity and private life? Should the Data Protection Act include mandatory encryption of personal information held by private companies and government organisations, as well as mandatory disclosure of breaches when they happen?

Piece appeared on February 19th 2014

Piece appeared on February 19th 2014

Private eye 1357 In the back - Eye Spy cutting Matei Rosca

23 January 2014

April 3rd 2014

April 3rd 2014

I also touched on this topic last summer in an article featuring Tom Watson (Labour) I wrote for Vice’s Motherboard.

The Data Protection Act has a lot of sway over the tech industry, particularly the Big Data (or Big Surveillance) sector. It governs the main source of income for virtually all Internet-based companies: personal data-driven advertising, marketing and intelligence. Lots of vested interest there.

2. Quantitative Easing. This programme, ran by the unaccountable Bank of England, itself lead by an unelected Canadian, may be seen as wealth redistribution. It cost the British taxpayer north of £200 billion and was “injected” directly into high finance.

How does the Prime Minister justify the value of Quantitative Easing (QE) as opposed to the value of cuts to public services? How does Ed Miliband view QE? Can we have a direct comparison by the leaders between the programme of QE and the programme of austerity? During the coalition rule, hundreds of billions has been spent on QE. Can we be told where that money is now?

3. The qualified right to vote for immigrants. Seeing as so many have been disenfranchised inside the EU, and as the Conservative Party put EU reform on its ticket, this might be one way to address the ‘democratic deficit’.

Would the next Government consider a paid, voluntary, individual test for immigrants who want to gain the right to vote in general election earlier than the usual five years? A sort of early-entry exam, the costs of which are to be fully supported by the examined?

What with Paxman’s recent lesson in journalism, I might have got a bit carried away…

More on BBC’s Ask This campaign from here.

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