Thursday, February 07, 2008

Spying and Surveillance

Innocently walking down a street in Glasgow, Cardiff or London will mean a person's face is picked up by one or several of the UK's 4.2 million CCTV cameras , one for every 13 people. It is estimated that, on a normal day, someone's image will be captured more than 300 times.

Then, there are all the speed cameras on the roads, the proposed expansion of the DNA database, and the planned introduction of biometric ID cards.

Richard Thomas, UK Information Commissioner, warned that Britain could "sleepwalk into a surveillance society".

Nick Clegg, LibDem leader angrily challenged Gordon Brown for creating a "surveillance state" and making the UK the "most spied upon on the planet". He referred to 1000 surveillance requests a day, one million "innocent people" on the government's DNA database and the "scandalous" fingerprinting of pupils in some 5000 schools.

The Surveillance Studies Network's 2006 report observed: "Most profoundly, all of today's surveillance processes and practices bespeak a world where we know we're not really trusted".

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