Government surveillance

I have lived in Great Britain, and there are a couple of things I have found unsettling there. First, is the use of the word "Great" as part of the name of the land. Regardless to the fact that it is no greater than any other place and that, if I were judge in the matter, I'd lean on thinking the opposite.

Sometimes, statemakers catch into fads when naming their country, and I'm glad the "Great stuffland" thing didn't catch on for puny countries on the same scale that the "democratic republic" prefix did for autocratic dictatures.

The other issue is the CCTV.

It stands for Closed Circuit TeleVision. A fancy name for videosurveillance. Every street corner of Britain is under the the watchful watch of security cameras.

Like every human being, I sometimes feel the urge to scratch my butt. Only in Britain was I so self conscious about it. I knew it was being recorded somehow and might get to be analysed by black suits and sunglasses in an underground facility if some bored teenager tweets about Bin Laden being in town. So I tried to look as unterrorist as I could in my scratching.

I think that this is bad. But by this I don't mean the cameras. If you think that privacy can only be reached by being off the grid, unrecorded, you're indulging yourself in a really sad illusion. Sad because, safe from civilization collapse, nothing will ever be going the right way in your opinion. In the future, both near and far, more things are going to be recorded, rather than less. Expecting to stay unrecorded will expose you to much bitterness.

It does NOT mean that privacy is something from the past.

The tool to record things is out, but the tool to control what happens to the records are close on its heels. So it is not the cameras that piss me off, it is the fact that I am denied the right to oversee what is being done with my image.

Governments seem to think that they should be allowed to know as much as possible of what is going on in the public space and in the private sphere. They also seem to think that neither the public sphere nor the individual citizens should be allowed to know what is going on inside the government. How is that fair?

I know the argument: if I have done nothing wrong then I should not worry that the government has a look at my stuff. I return the favor to you my dear administrators: If you have commited no crime, do let me have a look in those classified files. How about some CCTV in your hidden quarters, that the citizens would watch from times to times to check if nobody is being tortured just because torturing people is something you can possibly do? How would that sound? A bit of transparency on YOUR side?

What do you think governments would think of that?

They'd be scared shitless and would do anything to prevent that to happen.

Well, the tools have arrived, and, just as my poor hippie friends that believe in a camera free future, your illusion of permanent secrecy is colliding with the march of progress.

Wikileaks is just the beginning.

Similar stuff

There is a space on earth where borders are virtually removed between a cluster of countries. It's called the European Union, a space 3,000 km wide in which 500 million people live. More than anyone would need.

Free market, as with all economic theory, is based on a general philosophy. That general philosophy is that human greed, left unchecked, will be the motor of societal development to extends that are more efficient, and therefore more beneficial to humanity than competing economic theories. The development model could be summarized as:

  1. Increase individual freedom as much as possible
  2. Increase market freedom as much as possible
  3. Profit

Where it is explained how the written word is a very poor way of transmitting information.

Enough already with blog articles?

Get a free fiction ebook