e mërkurë, 1 gusht 2007


ABC: Americans Want To Be Surveilled
Poll indicates majority want to give up liberty for security

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Steve Watson

day, July 30, 2007

An ABC poll has revealed that two thirds of Americans are willing to accept heightened government intrusion on privacy and support the increased use of surveillance cameras to solve crime.

ABC states that 71 percent of Americans favor the increased use of surveillance cameras, while 25 percent oppose it.

Critics, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, have opposed such systems, arguing that they invade privacy, and could be used to track innocent people. Nonetheless, majority support for surveillance cameras crosses political, ideological and population groups, albeit with differences in degree, the reports suggests.

The report makes reference to London's surveillance network, known as the "Ring of Steel," which is said to have aided in the capture of suspects, including those accused of a pair of attempted car bombings in June.

What it does not report however is that in addition to London being the most surveilled city in the world with 4 million cameras, it also has an extremely high crime rate. A recent report highlighted that despite one 650-yard section of a major London road being surveilled by over 100 cameras, it is also one of the most crime ridden roads in the country.

At the time, police disclosed there had been 430 offences committed over six months on Holloway Road, including 29 serious assaults, 15 robberies and 32 burglaries, including two murders, the report states.

Statistics show that CCTV does not reduce crime. A 2005 Home Office study concluded that "most CCTV systems do not cut crime or make people feel safer. Of 14 closed circuit television camera schemes examined by criminologists, only one - for car parks - was shown to reduce offences."

The study, Assessing the impact of CCTV, was published two years ago and described how the nation's CCTV networks had been built on an unfounded belief that CCTV was effective.

In addition a recent report by an advisory body for the industry, CameraWatch, which has the backing of the police and the Information Commissioner’s Office, claimed that 90% of CCTV is used illegally and could potentially be inadmissible in court.

Should the major cities of America go the way of London in terms of accepting the Big Brother state, the following is what Americans have to look forward to:

Being watched 24/7 from large underground bunkers.

X-ray firing cameras hidden in lamp posts that can see through your clothes.

Cameras that monitor conversations in the street using high-powered microphones attached to CCTV cameras.

Cameras that shout orders at you in the street for stepping out of line.

The shouting cameras have been on the table for a long time and were spotted in London, along with large black megaphone appendages, up to one year ago:

In an even more frightening and conniving move it has today been revealed that the bureaucrats behind the cameras will use recordings of children's voices to discourage any adult they target from dissenting and shouting back at the cameras.

The use of children's voices to control adult behaviour is all out psychological warfare when you consider that it constitutes a total reversal of social norms. The government knows this full well and justifies it by suggesting that some people in the UK are now so devoid of morality that there is no way of setting that right other than by ritualistic public isolation and humiliation.

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What does it say about the state of a society in general that the government has given up on a portion of people and has decided that the best course of action is to extradite them and label them as fair game for methods of control that wouldn't look out of place in a horrific dystopian science fiction film?

The current divisions within society are frightening. We have reached the point where the general public is willing to accept massive invasions of their own privacy in order to deal with people they consider to be a bit of a nuisance from time to time.

It would not be surprising at all to see some people reveling in the control, egging on the shouting cameras and engaging in a proverbial "two minutes hate" against those they no longer dare stand up to themselves because they, quite rightly, fear for their own safety if they were to do so.

The most dangerous form of tyranny is one that has the consent of the people.

At the other end of the social divide the "louts" and "yobs" that are the primary target of such control mechanisms feel so divorced from society that their only means of articulation is to resort to acts of violence and vandalism.

How is it possible that further alienating these people, and almost rubbing their faces in the fact, is going to solve the problem?

Because modern day government is so obsessed with short term appearance over long term reality we are witnessing the literal unraveling of society as each problem is provided a solution that in turn engenders an even worse set of problems.

In short, such surveillance state methods are greasing the skids for the police state. As the general public cry out for more and more state intervention in society, and the dropouts become more and more alienated and reactionary, there is only one place we are all going to end up.

In a culture where people are not instilled with internal limiters on their behaviors, increasing external limiters is demanded and thus must be provided. Welcome totalitarianism.

Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

"Smith!" screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. "6079 Smith W.! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You're not trying. Lower, please! That's better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me."

- George Orwell, 1984.

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