I sometimes think that it’s almost impossible to underestimate the average politician’s desire for publicity, no matter how inane or ill-conceived the circumstances. Take this ridiculous suggestion from Jim Daly TD, the Minister of State at the Department of Health, as reported by the Irish Independent. The Fine Gael deputy believes that the European Union should require internet users to hand over their government-registered details to private businesses, the likes of Facebook or Twitter, before they can make use of their online services.
Social media users could be forced to hand over passport or public service card details to sign up to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under radical new plans aimed at stamping out online bullying and trolling.
Minister for Older People Jim Daly has written to the EU Commission demanding new Europe-wide laws which would make tech giants more responsible for faceless trolls and paedophiles who use their websites to stalk victims.
“One such method I would encourage would be the introduction of a cross-check with a social security number as per the Irish public service card, which would confirm a person’s date of birth, or a passport number in order to create an account,” he said.
What could conceivably go wrong with global companies having access to the legal identification data and records of individual citizens? A sci-fi dystopia, you say? An Orwellian mash-up between State and Corporation? Surely not!