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Stepford Society

Whilst browsing, I tripped over this article by Ian Pearson, dated Feb 2006, the first few lines I reproduce here:

William Rees-Mogg (The Times, Jan 16) pointed out that the UK has 25% of all the world’s CCTV cameras, and commented on the civil liberties effects of the increasing use of surveillance technology by government. BT has for some time been concerned about the potential for an anti-technology backlash if technology intrudes too heavily into people’s lives. Speed cameras are already a source of heated debate but likely to be replaced after 2009 by the use of the Galileo positioning system, which will be used to collect road tolls, detect speed on sections of all roads, help to track ‘criminals’ and detect other examples of ‘bad driving’ in conjunction with CCTV and number plate recognition systems. The positioning system is likely eventually to be linked to the engine management system in your car to prevent your car from exceeding the speed limit.

However, this will only affect generally law-abiding people, who will have valid number plates on properly equipped and fully registered cars. Professional criminals won’t, so they will still be able to drive at will, spoofing genuine number plates at random using plates that are actually LCD or e-ink displays so that they don’t get caught by tolls, speed cameras or ‘criminal tracking systems’. Meanwhile, extensive surveillance of Internet use will make sure you don’t access illegal sites, and monitoring of electronic messages will make sure you don’t breach sexual harassment or ‘hate crime’ legislation. Equal access for disabled people would benefit from all public meetings being audio and video recorded, or even broadcast live on community TV, so this might well become law soon too. But this will also make it easy for both police and pressure groups to use automated parsing to automatically pick up any cases of language or gestures that could cause potential offence? So public meetings will be very effectively censored under the banner of equal access.

The full article can be found here

Personally, I think Old Holborn, Obnoxio, and the UKLP got it wrong. It is not a copy of 1984 that should have been sent, but a copy of V for Vendetta.

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