Staying on the same theme of 'Big Brother', invasion of privacy and the like, let me bring to your attention (if you are not already aware) of a few examples of Big Brother at work in the UK.
The Guardian newspaper in the UK has written a piece stating that in the near future 50m car licence plates will be captured on camera - in short, all movements by vehicles will be tracked. The data will be stored and therefore used by the 'authorities' for up to five years. Some of the reasons given are to...wait for it...fight terrorism.
That isn't the worst thing about this. The worst, most horrifying thing is 'pilot studies' have already been and are already being conducted on 10m vehicles and the UK citizens have allowed this to happen. A few murmurs here and there but nothing major. Nothing to stop the creeping surveillance being inflicted on people.
Now that people are being affected by a 'shock' recession, higher food prices, higher heating bills, higher water bills, higher mortgages, a housing market that has crashed so houses remain unsold if not offered at bargain bottom prices, higher public transport costs, more unemployment as employers lay off workers, higher rates of depression and anxiety, etc. etc. What better time to tighten the screws, to tell the misguided, weakened, forlorn populace about the new measures being introduced to protect them from 'Al Quaeda' (an imaginary organisation dreamt up and created by those who know better)?
And then there are the ID cards: The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, has warned against the introduction of them and has cast severe doubt about the usefulness and purpose of monitoring people to the degree that is being proposed by the government.
Millions of individuals' personal data has gone missing over the last few years - stored on Cd's, flash drives, hard drives and laptops - personal data regarding prisoners, child benefit claimants, drivers and so on.
What worries me is how can the government guarantee that personal data about me will be kept securely and only divulged to the minimum number of persons under specified circumstances? Not that I agree to any data of this type being stored about me, but how could they assure me that a centralised database is safe? How will they use this information and why do they need to collect it from me in the first place?
I am aware of someone who paid a private detective to obtain print-outs of the bank statements of another person they were in dispute with. A fee was paid and the documents were received. The person who entered the bank database and obtained the requested information was a bank employee, someone who had been vetted and was a trusted person but had a nice little earner on the side. Just one example.
The fact that a government minister or their agents tell me that my information is safe with them gives me no comfort, in fact, it is the stuff of nightmares, actually. That the state feels it necessary to gather data on the masses to that degree presents serious long-term problems for the people and we seem not to care very much.
So...my point is that if people don't wake up and wake up soon the police state will have gained such a firm hold that it will be difficult to turn the clock back and reject the impositions that will affect generations to come. If you have children...think about it. Not to scare you into submission nor action but just to at least think about it. It is happening and it is happening now.
A Surveillance Society - House of Commons, Home Affairs Committee Fifth Report of Session 2007–08 - pdf
Warning over 'talking CCTV' plans - BBC 2007
Watchdogs 'alarm' over ID Cards -BBC 2004
SpyBlog.org.uk - 'Watching Them, Watching Us'