27 July 2009

Why is David Davis picking a fight?

David Davis doesn't mince his words in The Times today over Tory plans to trust Google with sensitive personal data:

When I read in the pages of this newspaper this month that the Conservative Party was planning to transfer people’s health data to Google, my heart sank. The policy described was so naive I could only hope that it was an unapproved kite-flying exercise by a young researcher in Conservative HQ. If not, what was proposed was both dangerous in its own right, and hazardous to the public acceptability of necessary reforms to the state’s handling of our private information.

Google is the last company I would trust with data belonging to me. In the words of human rights watchdog Privacy International, Google has “a history of ignoring privacy concerns. Every corporate announcement has some new practice involving surveillance”. It gave Google the lowest possible assessment rating: “hostile to privacy”. It was the only company of the 20 assessed to get this rating. It also said Google was leading a “race to the bottom” among internet firms, many of which did little to protect their users.

Obviously he thinks the idea a bad one in principle and his views will be shared by many, but there is more here than meets the eye.  It is when he says, “the policy described was so naive I could only hope that it was an unapproved kite-flying exercise by a young researcher in Conservative HQ”, the penny drops.  Davis is having a go at the people that surround Cameron.

Now consider this.  Steve Hilton, Cameron’s Director of Strategy, is married to Rachel Whetstone, who so happens to be Google’s Global VP of Public Affairs and Communications.  Digging deeper, Eric Schmidt, Google's Chairman and CEO, advises Cameron.

The question that has to be asked of Davis is, why now?  As he says, this idea has been out there for a month.  Why does David choose to use an article in The Times to sound off?  Why this proposal?  Aren't there more important matters to discuss?

What Cameron doesn't need is David Davis sounding off in the press about a bit of blue sky of thinking, no matter if Google are involved or not.  Sounds to me like another misjudgement from the overrated self-important Davis.  Maybe he has been told he will not get a seat in a Cameron cabinet.

The Tory party need team players not maverick politicians nine months out from a general election.

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2 comments:

  1. wonderfulforhisageJuly 27, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    "The Tory party need team players not maverick politicians nine months out from a general election."

    or

    The Tory party needs a team leader not a follower of focus groups nine months out from a general election.

    DD is a natural leader; DC is a natural follower - discuss.

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  2. DD is a natural leader. Come off it. You are having me on after what he did last year. Davis is only interested in himself, nothing more or less. I have heard it said the Cameron was glad to see the back of him.

    DC is a follower of who? DC leads and how well he does it. It is becasue of him that the labour paorty is in such dire straights. If Davis were to be Tory leader, Brown would get a 4th term with ease.

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