Secure beneath the watchful eyes…

I’m sure our National Security Agency (NSA) is drooling over the Brits’ new nation-wide surveillance system set to begin in 2006:

Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years. (The Independent)

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) has been a part of the English life for decades so I guess their citizenry either could care less about the intrusion of privacy or have become numb to the concept of being watched by their government 24/7.

I would hope that Americans wouldn’t allow the implementation of such an intrusive system, then again I thought there was no way the populace would re-elect Bush the war-monger.

The ACLU lists four problems with Public Video Surveillance:

  1. Video surveillance has not been proven effective
  2. CCTV is susceptible to abuse
  3. The lack of limits or controls on cameras use
  4. Video surveillance will have a chilling effect on public life

Still, I’ll make the prediction that one day in the near future a similar system will be proposed by our congress, probably after another terrorist event, and the people will allow it to happen as they did in England under the assumption that they will be more secure.

Hey, you should only be worried if you are doing something wrong… right?

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.
-Benjamin Franklin

Update by Stephen VanDyke: In related news, New York judge Gabriel Gorenstein has sided with the US government in its quest to be able to track a cellphone’s physical location via tower data, without first seeking a warrant to do so:

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the decision is based on “flawed legal analysis,” and contradicts rulings by three other judges. Gorenstein based his opinion, in part, on the idea that using tower data to triangulate a caller’s location doesn’t violate the US Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches, due to the fact that the tracking method doesn’t “install a … tracking device” and only “identifies a nearby cell tower” rather than pinpointing a caller’s location. The EFF vows to continue following what it calls a “dangerous new opinion,” particularly in light of recent revelations about warrantless wiretaps by the Bush administration.

  1. You know, I might not mind it quite so much if the govt has cameras, as long as I get to watch those cameras AND the govt folks watching those cameras AND a few cameras get place in central booking, etc. At least then we’d have enough governmental transparency that even the police would have to be quite wary and certain of what rights they start trammeling in the the supposed name of justice.

  2. If I stand in front of a government camera and wave my willy at it, am I obstructing justice?

    YES, this would be called “public indecency”.

    Victimless… yes. Why? Because it is the human form… get over it!

    Personally I think you should be allowed to flip-off and asshole cop. This (at least here) would earn you a night in “tent city“.

  3. We have learned from history that those behind emence power have gone crazy on their own product and we are just going to be another example to the ones that follow us that Humans are meant to destroy themselves forget computers doing it for us.God bless america and nooneelse