The Watchers Want to Stop You Watching Them

Hypocrite

Google’s transparency report is interesting, not so much in what it tells us about countries we already know to be oppressive, but in what it tells us about countries that profess to be free – particularly the United Kingdom where:

Now, the U.K. is reputedly the world’s most watched nation. This small island of about 60 million people contains 20 percent of all state surveillance on the planet. That in itself is alarming, frightening, even. Why would a popular democracy need to watch its people so intently? There is no evidence that the surveillance has had meaningful impact on crime, and a simple study of the numbers show that terrorism kills an infinitesimally small number of people.
Just as alarming are the figures released by Google. It is clear that not only are Britons the most watched people on earth, we now know that the “British Watchers” are among the most likely to act against being watched themselves. In other words, their attitude is clearly, “we can watch you – indeed, must watch you, but you can’t watch us.”
Fortunately Google rarely complies with these requests from U.K. authorities, and that’s quite funny. It’s funny because the rights of British people are being protected by an American company with a silly name, instead of by the people who’re paid to protect their rights – because those paid to protect civil rights are too busy trying to… violate civil rights.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was elected partly on a promise to restore civil liberties in the U,K. Google’s data show his administration has done the opposite. He has continued on a path set by his Labour predecessors, Messrs Blair and Brown, that saw the biggest diminishment of liberties in a century.

Oddly, there’s little outrage on these small islands off the coast of France. People seem inclined to accept the death of liberty with a shrug of their collective shoulders. “Government knows best” is the unspoken mantra. It can only end badly.

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One thought on “The Watchers Want to Stop You Watching Them

  1. “There is no evidence that the surveillance has had meaningful impact on crime, and a simple study of the numbers show that terrorism kills an infinitesimally small number of people.”

    To claim that much of the UK’s surveillance is for anti-terror reasons would be incorrect. CCTV (which accounts, I would think, for the vast majority of surveillance) is used extensively and successfully in combating crimes such as bag snatching, mugging, assaults etc. Also, much of the surveillance infrastructure is privately owned – shops, hotels, filling stations etc have invested in equipment to protect themselves and to help reduce the cost of insurance – and to act as a deterrent. These CCTV systems are sold by private companies who saw a gap in the market rather than as some part of a Big Brother conspiracy. But the net result is that in the UK, we have willingly bought into becoming a Big Brother state as police (and other organs of the state) will happily use private CCTV footage for whatever purpose.

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