I used to live, for several years, in Eastern Europe. I have since resigned myself to the fact that there probably is a nice little folder with my name on it somewhere in the Belarussian KGB archives documenting most of my life (where I went, conversations I had etc.) in Minsk. It’s a chilling thought.
What had I done to deserve being spied on? I worked as a volunteer with people with disabilities. How subversive! I always tried to shrug being spied on off as something you get when you live in a country which is under authoritarian rule. As Belarus wasn’t “my country” I could always leave if I didn’t like the spy-thing.
Well – I have left. I am back in “my country” and here I am worried that I was being spied on again. BAE Systems have previously used agents to obtain all sorts of personal and confidential information on CAAT staff and supporters. This time round Paul Mercer of LigneDeux Associates, who was hired by BAE systems has received a confidential CAAT e-mail and passed it on to BAE systems.
Is this just the tip of the iceberg?
I have always been open about my CAAT activities (I’m writing a blog for crying out loud!) so there is not much about my campaigning against the arms trade which needs spying on.
So what else could Paul and BAE Systems know about me? My mobile number, my home address, any other confidential details? And most importantly: what could they use it for?
Most probably nothing. BUT with BAE Systems you can’t be sure. I would prefer a company, which has recently been placed above the law by the UK government, not to hold any information about me. Oh…of course BAE Systems contract required Paul Mercer to operate within the boundaries of legality. But of course Paul did not do that.
I can hear the cynics among you say. “How naïve you are, Sara. Did you think you could campaign against such a powerful business like the arms trade and not get spied on?”
This question is irrelevant to me. I am involved in peaceful and completely legal activities. I should not get spied on. If they did actually spy on me: Shame on Paul Mercer ! Shame on BAE Systems!
I would like to find out if the extent of the spying went beyond this one confidential e-mail.
I also hope there can be some legal repercussions (I will blog about it if there will be).
In the meantime the coping mechanism I have developed to deal with the Belarussian KGB comes in handy here:
I am going to take the moral high ground and shrug it off.
I have absolutely nothing to hide. If a bunch of potentially very sad and tragic people like Paul Mercer and BAE’s Director of Security, Mike McGinty might spend their time spying on me and might administer the information they have collected about me – well, really – that is a bigger tragedy for them than for me.
I will go to see “The Lives of Others” in the cinema tonight. To see for myself what a sad, sad life it is spying on other people’s lives.