Sunday, 27 January 2008

Assault on Liberty (Orwellian reprise)

CCTV Camera Microphones to be Axed

Thus hails Patrick Hennessy, political editor of the Telegraph. I didn't even know they existed. Microphones attatched to CCTV camera's. Jesus. Did you? Nor did I know that they've already been used in Britain, recording conversations up to 100 yards away. Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner (a job straight out of 1984) says that recording private conversations from Britain's 4.5million CCTV camera's would be "highly intrusive". Quite why we need an Information Commissioner to tell us this is beyond me. Of course it would be highly intrusive. Though someone eaves dropping on your private conversations is no more intrusive than someone spying on you with a CCTV camera.

There's a further Orwellian twist to this story. From the headline 'CCTV Camera Microphones to be Axed', you'd think that - CCTV camera microphones were to be axed, no longer used. Not so. They are to be used. But, says a spokesman of the Information Commissioner, only in "extremely special circumstances". However the "only in extremely special circumstances" mantra doesn't hide the fact that your conversations can be recorded and the camera microphones are not being 'axed'. The article even says that councils are keen to use the microphones in the 'run-up' to the 2012 London Olympics. It is plain double-speak. The headline says that CCTV camera microphones are to be axed. The article says that they're not. Two plus two equals five.

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