Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Big Brother is watching you

An interesting piece by Chris Huhne in the Guardian this morning about the creeping encroachment on our freedoms under the current Labour government.

Locking up people without charge should not be an option in a modern democracy. Luckily enough MP's understand this to have defeated the notion that one can do this for 90 days. And yet Mr Blair still does not get the message and still wants to ram this through - lets hope enough MP's have the courage of their convictions and this measure is defeated again.

Then there is the abuse of anti terrorism legislation. Who can forget the absurd situation at the Labour Party Conference where Walter Wolfgang was arrested under the prevention of terrorism legislation for the "heinous" crime of having shouted 'Nonsense' during a speech by Jack Straw defending the governments policy on Iraq.

To say nothing of everyday life in a country where CCTV cameras and Number Plate recognition cameras are everywhere and where ID cards are to be introduced which will hold all sorts of data about our citizens with I suspect very few safeguards against abuse.

All of which puts me in mind of the TV advert I keep seeing where the long distance lorry driver is lost on the way to Albuquerque when pulled up by the woman in the middle of the road sat at a desk. She goes on to explain that she knows that they are lost because of the RFID tags attached to the goods.

There is something about this advert that puzzles and scares me. Puzzles me because I cannot imagine what the benefit is of advertising this technology to the general public (as opposed to corporations) and scares me because somehow the thought that my jeans could have an RFID tag in them and that ultimately the technolgy to link that pair of jeans to me and track me round the world is a possibilty that I find somewhat scary!

Don't forget big brother is watching you.

Tag Politics


leila said...

I dont know what RFID stands for but, making an educated guess, I can see good things arising from the big brother tagging. It could help with traffic control, crime, demographic predictions. All useful. Whilst I do feel uncomfortable about the tagging for the same reasons that you do, what is your answer when you come against the statement 'well if you haven't done anything wrong what are you worried about'


Tony Ferguson said...

Radio Frequency ID (RFID) tags

As for the argument of "if you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to worry about".

Well I guess I feel that this is an attack on my basic rights to freedom.

I know we seem to be moving away from the principle that under law you are innocent until proved guilty but I don't have to like it or agree with it.

I should not be required to carry a card to prove my innocence.

To me this a big change to our civil liberties and once our civil liberties are lost they will never return.

The critical thing about trusting your privacy to the government is that you have to be able to trust what the government will do with your lack of privacy. All it takes is one disgruntled civil servant to affect his ex wifes credit card rating, criminal record etc etc and we will soon all be wondering what we have let ourselves in for.

Maybe it will be ok under our current government (although I seriously doubt it) but what about when some future 'crisis' arises and it becomes 'necessary' for the government of the day to suspend democracy and introduce 'emergency powers'? Who will then guarantee the freedoms which we now take for granted?

Paul said...

Can't you discuss this in the kicthen?

Nicola said...

Iwas going to write a long post - instead I am just going to suggest you read a book called Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner.

Tony Ferguson said...

Paul said...
Can't you discuss this in the kicthen?

Hmmm or elsewhere I guess but not if we are in two different physical locations at the time