Wednesday, 24 June 2009
All-Seeing Eyes: A Tyranny of State Surveillance
(Image: Graffiti art by the infamous "Banksy")
Britain's CCTV Epidemic
It is widely known that Britain has a burgeoning nanny state. The hi-tech Big Brother measures deployed here are amongst the worst in the world. In particular, the density of CCTV cameras is the highest in the world - all in all, the population in the UK is a little over 60 million, who are surveilled by an estimated total of 4 million CCTV cameras. One camera for every 15 people.
The average Briton is filmed on CCTV 300 times a day, according to estimates. Britain accounts for only one hundredth of the world's population, but one fifth of the world's CCTV cameras.
You leave your house on a morning and a camera, fixed high on a lamp-post at the end of the street watches you leave. Perhaps you take a taxi or bus. Both of these generally will have onboard CCTV with notices telling you it's for your own good. If you drive, you can expect to be monitored by speed cameras, analysing whether you should be given an instant fine for disobeying the laws of the road.
In London, there is a Congestion Charge ring around the city centre, which if you intend to go in or out of the zone, you need to pay a small fee for the privilege. If you travel in or out of this zone, but don't pay, you will get away with this 'crime' on the day, but your car plates will have been photographed and thanks to the DVLA database of all car owners, you will have a bill hitting your doormat soon enough. This is an example of surveillance being used as government revenue collection, rather than for crime prevention/evidence gathering.
Does CCTV Work?
Well, the general consensus is that it has no effect on crime rates, despite being extremely expensive to the taxpayer. There are cases in which it helps to catch offenders, true; though when the police commit offences, it's common practice for the CCTV to not work, unfortunately. What a coincidence.
Take two examples of the police murdering people - John Charles de Menezes (2005) in the London Underground, and Oscar Grant (2009), shot on a train platform in Oakland by BART Police. Both times the CCTV, prevalent throughout the Underground and no doubt there were several cameras where Mr Grant was murdered too, coincidentally 'failed' to deliver footage of the murders. Isn't that such a shame. Hmm. In other words, you can be monitored, but when a GOD (Gutless Official Demon) does something wrong, he will be shielded from CCTV evidence of his crimes.
See this older post of mine which deals with the CCTV issue, and includes links to a few news articles about the encroaching tyranny of the surveillance state.
What would the American Founders have said about today's situation?
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison
"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people." - John Adams
"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty." - John Adams
"Be not intimidated...nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice." - John Adams
And lastly, a quote from Charles A. Beard (1935): "One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence."
To all the CCTV apologists - it doesn't stop with just CCTV, that's the point. If you wilfully accept being filmed everywhere you go, the next step in the incremental tyranny is, I believe, the use of speakers attached to the cameras (which is being introduced in places), so that you may be ordered around by whichever jumped-up-scum-on-a-power-trip is manning the underground CCTV bunker on that day.
Liberty over Statism, always
The chief argument against CCTV is that is a part of a much larger phenomenon, a broader mentality of society, which is the statist philosophy. The state can do no wrong, but people independent from the state are always doing wrong, and so they need to be watched and monitored, and kept under control, by the 'loving' state.
See these posters to get an idea of the mindset I'm talking about
No. In fact, historically, the greatest criminals are always governments, so I believe the opposite - most people are basically good, but the powers of government are a magnet for sick control freak scum, and we should be the ones scrutinising our government, not the other way around.
"Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?" - Thomas Jefferson
You may also like to read this guide, which I mirrored, detailing methods of destroying and disabling CCTV cameras. Of course, I do not endorse any such action, I am just providing information.
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And You Tell Me There's No Suppressed Technology?
It's another of those 'conspiracy theories' that good citizens don't notice. Imagine the standard of living if all the secret technology was released to the public...we'd be "free and independent" as JFK said! No more poverty anywhere! Can you imagine being sick enough to withhold such technology from society just to maintain your position of control? (Bearing in mind that we don't know just how much technological capability is being withheld, because, duh, it's secret.) What did Nikola Tesla really develop?
Individual Liberty? But that's "selfish"!
No, we need to look after each other voluntarily without having a government do all that at gunpoint. Sounds absurd at first but soon you realise that the reason it sounds so is because of the very unfree nature of our current existence. Envision greater possibilities! Ok, some kind of massive wake-up would be needed before this kind of free, responsible, uncontrollable society could emerge. And that's what we are seeing day by day in the world - a massive waking up of the previously enslaved masses (including myself I must add!)