No, really, I’m getting all weepy. Because of this absolute horseshit.
Do people not notice the erosion of their privacy? Or do they not care? If the first, then I’m weeping for the stupidity of the human race. If the second, then I’m weeping for the indifference.
Basicially, the government are giving themselves the ability to monitor everyone’s movements and associations, automaticially. Now, they’ve always had the power to do this, but the scale of it is what’s changing. Twenty years ago, it would have required a team of dozens to keep an eye on one person, which meant that it wouldn’t be done without good reason. In a few years, it will be done to everyone, everywhere, automaticially.
Think about that. Everything about you will be available at the touch of a button. From your movements, habits, and associations (which ANPR and facial recognition cameras will take care of), through to your spending habits, medical records, international travel, and bank details (which will be linked through the ID card scheme). All available to any government department which can claim a stake in your life. At the touch of a button. From the local constabulary, to the Revenue, to the health service, all will be giving and taking your information.
“But,” say the Believers, “these are but tools to catch lawbreakers, and only the guilty have anything to hide from them.” To which I say: bullshit. Even if you accepted that every law on the books was a just law (which is not the case), could you safely say that every law in the future will be? Do you honestly believe that the quality of the data will be better in these new systems than in the already exisiting government systems (that is to say: atrocious)? Do you explicitly trust every person in the system, this same system that is busy investigating it’s own as part of Operation Ore?
No, these may be tools, but the difference between a ‘tool of law enforcement’ and a ‘tool of oppression’ is the same difference as there is between a ‘terrorist’ and a ‘freedom fighter’.
The only ones who have anything to fear are those who live here.
Hat tip to Samizdata, where commenters have come up with a partial solution to the problem.
There needs to be a serious grassroots movement to smash or otherwise disable these cameras – all of them, because we can no longer be certain which are networked.