Online surrender: Amendment to MİT law will put economy under ‘big brother’ surveillance

Online surrender: Amendment to MİT law will put economy under ‘big brother’ surveillance

The other day, the bill containing changes regarding intelligence services and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) law was sent to Parliament. While this bill is opening the door wide for an autocratic public order, also in the economy, with mass financial profiling, it is putting the free market under “big brother” surveillance. If approved to be a law, then this proposal is a very dangerous initiative that may carry the banking sector “outside” and cause capital flight. Let alone grave factors, such as throwing the rule of law in the wastebasket in terms of individuals and the state profiling of personal knowledge, it is very obvious these kinds of initiatives will pull the country’s economy in a worse direction in the global conjuncture. In a conjuncture where, let alone cutting bond buying, the Fed has started talking about increasing interest rates, short term capital does not arrive in a country that is fast becoming an “Orwellian country.”

Direct delivery

According to the bill, government agencies and banks will have to give information, documents, data, records, whatever they have to MİT. More than that, these institutions will connect their own database to MİT and deliver them directly “online.” There will be nothing such as customer confidentiality, commercial secrecy and the secrecy of private life. Public equity firms (for instance, THY and Telekom) and banks will deliver all of our information to MİT online. How much money you own, how much debt and credit loans you have, your cash flow, those who have given loans to you, your shopping, credit card spending, which books you have bought from abroad, where and what you have spent, your daily routine and weaknesses, subscriptions, medical problems, treatments, which medications you are taking, who you travel with and where, which hotel you are staying in, whatever belongs to you will be delivered online to the state’s intelligence organization. This means a mass and, at the same time, detailed profiling program for the citizens of this country.

Court order  

Even in the current practice, even the police do not have access to this information without a court order or without the permission of the relevant prosecutor. Any financial information about a suspect is only given in written form to prosecutors after research is done by authorized personnel. This bill is openly against Article 20 of the Constitution about the protection of private life.

When this bill is reviewed, it makes one think the deputies who signed it have no belief and expectations left on the matters of democracy, law and human rights. Turkey, which had a “shining country” story five years ago, now has a story of a country that has no freedom of expression and press left, where there is no separation of powers, where the executive is the only dominant, where Internet bans exist, where Internet traffic is recorded, of a country that is moving rapidly toward a police and intelligence state.

Yes, I am wondering now, what would Minister Ali Babacan, who was lecturing us that, “Without a first class democracy, there will not be a first class economy,” say to this? Under which excuse and under which forced justification will he take shelter now?

Uğur Gürses is a columnist for dailies Radikal and Hürriyet. This abridged piece was published in daily Hürriyet on Feb 21. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.