We are in danger, apparently, of sleeping our way into a surveillance society. This is always seen as a bad thing – Big Brother, the vile Sino-Soviet empires and so on; no doubt Elizabethan England too. Surveillance can be both good and bad – we forget this obvious issue too easily when prognosticating.
Someone give me good reasons why we should allow tax havens or anything like what we refer to as Swiss Bank accounts. These prevent ‘intrusive surveillance’ into the doings of the rich and crooked. Transparency here would be a good thing, unless one believes all this trade would disappear to other routes – the old argument that selling arms is OK because someone else will always do it. Most tax havens are British in origin.
Give me good reasons why we shouldn’t have social workers in on top of the vile who are abusing their kids, with power to put cameras and sound devices in every room until they stop abusing themselves, their kids and neighbours? Kids should get hair follicle testing too, where drugs are involved. What we don’t want is clown social workers on top of the wrong people. Let’s say such clowns decided Sue and I were abusers – even they would find out we no longer have children after a while. We could allow the odd mistake. Instead, we are allowing all manner of abuse – evidenced in crime and the forever children doing it.
On the other side, why are we asked for so much irrelevant personal information. I’d say 50% of most forms, sometimes more, are intrusive. Is my blog ‘read’ at GCHQ? Do I give a monkey’s if anyone laughs out loud or the whole thing is part of genuine security? Would we get more out of our cops if we surveilled them on duty and could properly log what they actually do?
Many of our fears on surveillance are founded in idleness and fear of being caught out, not being able to play golf on a Wednesday and screw the secretary in Thursday afternoons. There might be far more freedom in a transparent world, though I’m not suggesting undressing in a greenhouse with the lights on.
I note that ConDoomed has now failed to give male rape case defendants anonymity back. The usual reason given is this may encourage other victims to come forward. We do clown stuff like this and yet worry over CCTV. We marshal assembly lines with the precision of someone with obsessive-compulsive complex, but worry about extending this to outside workers, cops, social workers, managers and the bank accounts of the rich?
The Gestapo found all the surveillance they needed in neighbours’ gossip and spleen. My DNA will prove it wasn’t me, as would CCTV or any accurate record not whipped up by our bent authorities. I’m not sure hat the answers are here, but I am sure we need more than the feeble arguments around. I’m also sure I no longer trust our authorities to understand evidence, not pollute it with their own defensive perversions, or get much that really needs deciding right. Better surveillance and more direct evidence might help far more than it threatens freedom. Do the bad kids still sit at the back to avoid the surveilling eye?