Wednesday, January 02, 2008

UK is an "Endemic Surveillance Society"

Via Samizdata, I find this map showing the varying levels of privacy in countries around the world. The UK is in the worst category: Endemic surveillance societies.

Here's Privacy International's full report on the UK, and it is sumarised as follows:
  • World leading surveillance schemes

  • Lack of accountability and data breach disclosure law

  • Commissioner has few powers

  • Interception of communications is authorised by politician, evidence not used in court, and oversight is by commissioner who reports only once a year upon reviewing a subset of applications

  • Hundreds of thousands of requests from government agencies to telecommunications providers for traffic data

  • Data retention scheme took a significant step forward with the quiet changes based on EU law

  • Plans are emerging regarding surveillance of communications networks for the protection of copyrighted content

  • Despite data breaches, 'joined-up government' initiatives continue

  • Identity scheme still planned to be the most invasive in the world, highly centralised and biometrics-driven; plan to issue all foreigners with cards in 2008 are continuing

  • E-borders plans include increased data collection on travellers

It is also interesting to note that countries have been getting worse, not better, over the last year or so; evidently those terrorists don't need to try to destroy our freedoms: our governments are doing quite well enough by themselves, thank you very much.

UPDATE: the Daily Mash emcompasses all the hope of the new year in a pithy byline.

THIS year will start shit and then get shitter until it gets so shit that eating a shit sandwich will seem like a blessed relief, a leading expert said last night.

Happy new year!


anthonynorth said...

Any government will always do what it is allowed to get away with, and use any device to achieve it. And governments want nothing more than to know what people are doing.
I think we need to take a very close look at our new technologies, and see if they are a natural process towards totalitarianism.
Tech could well be becoming the new jackboot, by stealth.

sniper said...

Tech is the new jackboot. The jackboot was just a functional item of clothing until it became a symbol and actor of repression. Tech is simply tech until...

Tech does not monitor people, people monitor people.

John Trenchard said...

was over in ireland over the christmas period - in rural Cork - and the lack of cctv cameras was invigorating to say the least.

it really hits you mentally when you look up and around and realise that there are no cameras. a sense of invigorating freedom envelops you as you walk down a rural village street without CCTV.

Ed said...

Don't be silly - New Labour has brought more freedom than ever before. The period 1997-2010 will be remembered as one of quiet revolution and step change in our freedoms.

[According to Jack Straw, Head of Minijust]


I am always amazed that people would risk life and limb to ( illegally) get into the UK. I would risk life and limb to get out. :)

Henry North London said...

I would go with ubermouth

verity said...

I'm with Sniper: Tech is the new jackboot. Very well put.

Where I live, I believe there are some discreetly placed surveillance cameras on the main boulevard, but that is mainly because there are a lot of historic buildings on it. Elsewhere, save the airport, I've never seen a surveillance camera. The Wal-Marts may have them, but that's private property and they're very discreet.

Even on the main boulevard in this colonial state capital, people overtake police cars, which are cruising at the legal limit, on both sides and no one gets in trouble.

For a country that bred such freedom of movement and speech, Britain certainly has surrendered those freedoms without a fight, to fascism. And so quickly. Ten years is all that took for the fascists to triumph over a thousand years of freedom.

Henry North London said...

Does that mean that we should all move to Greece?

Or campaign and get ourselves elected and reverse this crap?