Tuesday, 10 July 2012

registratrix or public-record

While the rest of Europe and in particular the people of Germany and Italy were enthralled by the football match between these two titans for a place in the finals, it seems there was some conscientious division of focus in the quiet and abandoned halls of the lower house (the Bundestag) of parliament: with no debate or discussion, members present passed a bill that included reforms to the municipal registration process (declaring one’s residence, registering a vehicle, family-status, background, religion, etc.) allowing local authorities, the Rathaus, financial offices, immigration and naturalization officials, to sell information to presumably marketers without the knowledge or permission of the individuals in the registry. As soon as this shady vote came to light, it has been roundly disowned and disavowed by the government and the media, pledging that the changes will never even make it to the upper house of parliament (the Bundesrat). Though perhaps such intelligence and demographic-information could be easily gleaned from other, public sources (without remanding anything to the village treasurer), such a proposal deserves outrage and further scrutiny. News and legislation does not stay buried forever and I would hope that the reforms’ advocates would realize that this was bound to surface and upset a lot of people, even if the fatal-flaw of the democratic-process is such to guarantee suffrage for all and brings all sorts of nonsense to the table.
 It is not so much, however, the worlds’-dumbest-criminals aspect of trying to use the gladiator-games as a cover that is revolting, but rather the complete disdain they demonstrated for their constituencies. Surely someone at some point put them in office, as a position of trust to represent and protect public interests—and no paying demographer will be willing to offer up so much money as to fund all community works, if that was their reasoning, even if it was theirs to give away. Also, as I understand it, this dispute reform is only one part of a larger initiative to annex some registration responsibilities from the Länder and centralize it within the federal (Bundes) government, so localities might see no revenue from such scheme. People not only have a right to be forgot and to decline but also should have control and oversight in how their vital data is traded. In an environment where the populace is constantly mobilized against the whack-a-mole series of assaults on internet freedoms, privacy rights and blanched at surveillance for whatever purpose, it is quite a dissonance to imagine the government to profit from such measures.