A poem for Data Protection Day

Today is Data Protection Day – or Data Privacy Day in the US. I thought I’d write a little poem to mark the occasion – so here it is:


Privacy’s dead, I’ve heard it said

It’s time to face the truth

It’s only fogeys who complain

Just listen to the youth


The young don’t care, don’t care at all

They share all day and night

And only those with things to hide

Put up some kind of fight


But is this true, I ask myself

Do kids not really mind?

Just talk to them, you’ll find they do

Their views are much maligned


But what they see as privacy

May not be what you say

For privacy’s not quite so clear

As hiding things away


What’s private may be bad or good

It may be big or small

It may not seem to matter much

But that’s just not your call


And in these days of online life

Of smartphones and the net

We pour our lives out digit’ly

In ways we might regret


…if data’s not protected well

And that means we need law

Law that’s written well and strong

With our rights at the core


Can law solve problems on its own?

Of course not, don’t be fooled

But law can play a crucial part

It can be one key tool


That’s why, though there are problems – huge

And many a massive flaw

I still campaign and still support

Data protection law



Apologies for the scansion…… and some of the rhymes!


2 thoughts on “A poem for Data Protection Day

  1. You’re right of course; I was wrong the other day to criticise the focus on preventing the #snooperscharter from being introduced in an underhand way, yet again.

    I still think, tho’, that long-term we need to fight a much wider battle. It’s a battle that covers not only privacy behaviours and assumptions in government/the security agencies but the wider idea of public service: our society will continue to fail if we can’t trust our elected representatives. It’s not *just* legislation we need to battle piecemeal on; it’s also a concerted effort to change governance cultures themselves. In the end, if someone’s culture leads them to not want to collaborate in good faith, any laws anyone cares to fight for and pass will be circumvented by those who think they need to.

    I suggest a Bill of Rights which embeds the right and obligation to privacy as well as a whole host of other matters in the relationship between governors and governed. There may be other mechanisms others have in mind – but something at least which addresses cultures *as well as* laws.

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