Big Brother is watching you…but the Brits still think they have a private life

I just read my former colleague Adrian Moss’s post about CCTV and the fact Britain has more cameras per inhabitant than any country in the world (take me there). By the way, Salford police didn’t doctor the pictures (yet), they painted the line under the car. Adrian is predicting the next step is that they will paint lines into pictures or move cars onto lines, or drivers into cars, or gangsters into bank robberies. There is no limit, check this out, its scary.

This whole discussion about CCTV and freedom brings to mind some of the massive contradictions people don’t seem to worry about.

Despite the attempts of successive governments to explain why an ID Card would make sense, Britons seem to think that having them would result in a reduction of their freedom (idiot’s guide to the ID Card) …they forget that with CCTV, GSM phone positioning (have you ever wondered how Orange knew where you were when you dialed the Road Info number), etc…freedom and private life is already a view of the past.

Being a Frenchman who lived in the UK for ten years, I was able to discover to my total amazement that an Estate Agent could buy information about my banking and financial situation from companies like Equifax (what do they say about you…). When I moved to the UK, one of the first things I bought was a bed to “furnish” the house I was going to live in until my family turned up. Well guess what: since I had no banking history in the UK, I only had a Cash Card, and the shop wouldn’t accept the £250 check I wrote out on the checkbook I was given by the bank! They ended up photocopying my passport and asking me to write out 5 checks for £50 each.

It’s not all bad: in France, when you rent a house or an appartment, you have to bring three payslips to prove you earn more than 4 times the rent (!). You might be earning five times the rent and have just borrowed a fortune to buy a Ferrari F40 and a 40ft boat and have no money available at the end of the month…they wouldn’t know.

I think Adrian has a good point here, maybe there is some future mileage in editing CCTV films. By the way, for those of you who own a Ferrari (I don’t so I’m not allowed), here is the link to the Ferrari community site.

4 Responses to Big Brother is watching you…but the Brits still think they have a private life

  1. terry coles says:

    Very thoughtful comments,It would be useful to hear from you.


  2. Robin says:

    I sometimes wonder what all those goody goodies that moan about lack of freedom in G.B. and France would say the day (and I hope to God it never happens!) a W.M.D. goes off in London or Paris ,they will then blame the current leader of not beeing careful enough or perhaps too easy going on would be terrorists .

  3. I’m one of those who thinks freedoms are being destroyed in Britain. It is for two reasons. First, technology is making it easy to do so. Second, any government wants more power over the people. It is therefore attractive to promote a politics of fear.
    Would I eat my words if a WMD exploded in London? No. I don’t believe CCTV, ID cards or the rest would prevent it. But having those things would lull the security services into the false assumption that they’ve got it covered.

  4. Robin says:

    I appreciate the point of Anthony but in fact a democratic in a no win situation .Damned if you do ,damned if you dont !

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