Tuesday, January 26, 2010

They're Doin' It Wrong

The United Kingdom has one of the highest, if not the highest, number of closed circuit television cameras per capita keeping an eye on everyone and everything. They have taken the fear of terrorism to a point that would be comical if it weren't so ridiculous and sad.

And now they're going to do even more.

Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the ­"routine" monitoring of antisocial motorists, ­protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.


The problem here is obvious. If a government wants to keeps tabs on the people, it should do so in secret. If the secret is leaked and the lawsuits begin, it provides a copy of the secret phone tap records to one plaintiff in a madcap moment of incompetence and then demand the document be returned. Everyone else's cases are dismissed because they're merely a general grievance.

In the U.K., the plethora of cameras remind everyone that their every move is being recorded. The police routinely stop people taking pictures of buildings for fear they're planning a terrorist attack.

At least our government isn't so obvious about it so we still think we have some semblance of privacy.

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