Thursday, July 05, 2007

Orwell is as bad a cliche as...

...I don't really have a big finish to that simile . Eh, make up your own.
One of my earliest posts on this blog was talking (ranting) about the sheer lack of concern as personal privacy erodes in our societies. As a fairly private person I find it hard to fathom how this goes not unnoticed but simply unremarked. And as anyone who knows me will attest, the problem with 1984 as a metaphor for our times is that Orwell lacked imagination.

The Raw Story | Orwell rolls in his grave: Britain's endemic surveillance cameras talk back
Observed by over 4.2 million closed circuit – or CCTV – cameras across the country, Britain is already the most surveilled industrialized state in the Western world. It was recently estimated that the average Briton is captured by electronic eyes more than 300 times on a typical workday.

300 times. More if you walk around from where I used to work in Waterloo to The Strand and Trafalgar Square.
As the observation of behavior takes on bizarre new forms, and data collection on the public continues to lose transparency, red flags have begun waving among privacy groups. Many have expressed wariness over the potential for undemocratic abuses of personal information, a concern that has also been raised with regard to the UK’s police-controlled DNA databank, which now contains over 3.5 million profiles.

A study published by human rights watchdog Privacy International in November placed Britain among the five worst countries in the industrialized world at protecting individual privacy, ranking alongside China and Russia as exercising “endemic surveillance.”

Does any part of that quote not give you a little frisson of fear? A shiver down the spine. An alliteration on your sibilance?
Okay the real point is this: We're losing the things we should value and we won't notice until the process is complete. Our freedoms are stolen a little more each day, and freedoms taken are so very hard to have returned.

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