Surveillance in Britain

This was originally posted in 2013 — and it’s time for a repeat airing:

Rod Rees writes: In researching my book Invent-10n it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t the surveillance side of State intervention in our lives – the employing of cameras and digital-communication intercepts to collect data about us – that we should be worried about but the use that is made of that data. And this, in turn, led me to the belief that there are now seven truisms regarding the surveillance-pervasive Britain of 2013.

Truism 1: We’re being watched.

Although statistics on the subject are difficult to pin down, the consensus seems to be that, by some margin, the British are the most watched people on the planet, with there being one CCTV camera for every fourteen of us (a conservative estimate, by the way). Now that’s an awful lot of surveillance and as none of these cameras are regulated, there is no information regarding the data they collect, for how long it’s held or who has access to it. The reality is that no matter where we are, we’re being watched.

What this also signals is how obsessive the British authorities (be they police, security services or local councils) are with CCTV surveillance: they have become the most avaricious voyeurs in history. The British authorities like to watch.

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The world is changing

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The world is changing. Maybe this is so apt:

Greetings Gate, let’s Agitate. Look over your shoulder. Do you see the camera? Then dig that even as you read these words of sedition and denial you are being watched by the ever e-quisitive National Protection Agency. The National Protection Agency – omnipresent, omniscient and most ominous – which runs PanOptika, the spider at the centre of the Web.

PanOptika. What’s the slogan: watching out for the good guys by watching out for the bad guys. But what did that Roman word-slinger, Juvenal say? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes: who watches the watchers?

So dig this to the extremity, cats and kittens: if we do nothing soon we must kneel, digitally-dutiful, before National Protection, and then there will be no chance to zig when the ChumBots say zag, or to beep when they say bop. Realise thou that PanOptika triumphant means we will not be able to think, to act, to speak or to move without the spirit-sapping realisation that the badniks know everything … everything.

* We are circling the drain. This is my warning. *

A “freewheeling tour de force.” — James Lovegrove / Financial Times

Invent-10n by Rod Rees is available from Amazon and other online book dealers.