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UK Has Become a "Surveillance Society"

flossie Re:Funny (291 comments)

The only downside that I can see is you have to put up with people whinging about a `surveillance society` without defining what that is, and what's wrong with it.
"Surveillance Society" is defined in great detail in the report which led to the article which started this discussion: The Information Commissioner's "A Report on the Surveillance Society".

In this context, surveillance is not just about cameras. They are not even the most important aspect. Unfortunately they are the most visually obvious signs and so the media tend to concentrate on them rather than the underlying framework. The surveillance society is about the database state - the detailed picture of our lives that is assembled by the state, ostensibly in the name of efficiency and serving us better, but often acting in a manner that reduces personal privacy and basic freedoms.

Now the National Identity Register and National DNA Database - they scare me. I'll fight against those!
Why? Something to hide? Remind me of the downside again?

The Identity Cards Act requires each of us to notify the authorities of our whereabouts on pain of a 1000 pound fine - why should this be necessary? Why should people escaping domestic violence have to update a central database, to which many thousands of people will have access, when they are trying to hide?

The National Identity Register will record every visit to a clinic. Why should petty officials be able to find out if their neighbour has had an abortion?

A DNA database could potentially allow those with access to know whether we are increased likelihood of suffering from particular diseases later in life, some of which we may not yet even know are genetic and from which you yourself might be at increased risk. There are no safeguards in place to prevent employers or insurance companies from discriminating against such bad risks. Once information is out in the open, there is no way to recover it.

It is extremely foolish to even consider collecting all this information into one central, vulnerable, database when there hasn't been even the slightest thought about who should have access and what rights individuals should retain over the processing of their data.

more than 8 years ago


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