Saturday, 19 January 2008

Assault on Liberty

Over the past few months there have been many reports in the media about increasingly sophisticated surveillance technology and the extension of government surveillance powers.

Here's some reports from the past week alone:

Prisoners 'to be chipped like dogs' (13th Jan 2008, Independent) "Ministers are planning to implant "machine-readable" microchips under the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of the electronic tagging scheme." Ken Jones, president of the Assaociation of Chief Police Officers, rather chillingly says, "'s time has come."

Hospitals tagging babies with electronic chips (15th Jan 2008, US, World Net Daily)

FBI wants instant access to British identity data: (15th Jan 2008, Guardian) "Server in the Sky is an FBI initiative designed to foster the advanced search and exchange of biometric information on a global scale." This follows the revelation last December that the US says it has right to kidnap British citizens (Times).

"The internet can't be a no-go area for government." (17th Jan, BBC) Jacqui Smith, having already taken away our right to make private phone calls, begins her assualt on internet privacy. All justified, of course, with recourse to a terrorist threat that is being purposely fermented by our own government through its criminal and murderous policies in the Middle East.
In Creeping Fascism: From Nazi Germany to Post 9/11 America Ray McGovern records the "sheepish submissiveness" with which the German people reacted to the 'security' measures implemented by Hitler's Third Reich in the 1930's. Measure's like phone tapping, having letters opened or desks broken into. The German people accepted them with very little protest because they were told (or manipulated into thinking) there was a terrorist threat, and these measures had to be implemented in defense of that threat.
I'm not historically astute enough to say where the parallels between Nazi Germany and New Labour Britain begin and end. But the fact is that there are parallels. And when Privacy International, an internation privacy watchdog, brackets Britain and the US in the same category as China (that's right, China), the category of "endemic surveillance societies", then you should probably start to hear alarm bells in your head.

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
Benjamin Franklin

Will future generations look back at us and wonder at the "sheepish submissiveness" with which we accepted the eradication of our civil liberties?
Further Reading
Big Brother is watching us all (Sept 2007, BBC)
Surveillance system tracks faces on CCTV (Oct 2007, Guradian) New tracking technology means that you'll no longer remain anonymous in a crowd.

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