Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Bit of A Rant.......

The Goyt is as far as I know a CCTV free area. I can still walk there, mumble to myself, rant against the government or just shout into the wind because I feel like it. No one in authority will be keeping tabs on me. There may be one or two startled dog walkers, and some surprised grouse, but my actions will not be recorded, to be sifted over in some darkened room by an agent of the government at a later date. We are not yet under the same level of surveillance, that Orwell wrote about in his novel "1984", where I seem to recall Winston and Julia were still at risk from listening devices even in the depths of the Home Counties countryside. But we are not far off. If you use the Internet, telephone (mobile or landline) then you are under surveillance. If you walk down the street in any of our towns and cities then you are under surveillance. It is possible for someone without your knowledge to know where you have been and what you have been doing and for this information to be gathered electronically and remotely regardless of whether you are doing anything wrong.

Up to a point I have no problem with that. There is some truth in the assertion that if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear from the additional surveillance, that it will offer the law-abiding citizen some measure of protection. But it does not stop at the use of surveillance to protect the citizen from criminals. It can be and is being, abused. Our civil rights are eroded almost with each passing piece of legislation. Our own government, rather than seeking to limit the use of technology to “spy” on its citizens, actively seeks to increase the levels of surveillance, and seeks to extend police powers and to limit the protection we have from our legal rights. Tony Blair makes no attempt to hide his frustration at the slow and laborious nature of the courts system, wanting more summary justice to be dispensed by Police Officers. It starts with small seemingly irrelevant almost trivial things, but one day you wake up and realise that a large chunk of freedom has gone. All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men or women to do nothing.

First They Came for the Jews

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Next they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade
I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

Back in the Goyt I can breathe in the clean fresh air of freedom, and stare out across a hillside free from CCTV, and hidden listening devices. But hang on a second; what’s this, I am sure that rock wasn’t there last time I was here!

5 comments:

fiwa said...

Is it because of Tony Blair?
Obviously, we in America can point our finger at George Bush to explain all of our problems.
I just keep hoping the pendulum is going to swing back the other way one of these days.

Kim Ayres said...

If you take your mobile phone with you then you can be tracked quite easily. But then as the Echelon system monitors every single phonecall, text and email you send, then I can't help but think we have long surpassed Orwell's level of surveillance

The Birdwatcher said...

fiwa, Tony B gets very frustrated when the British legal system gets in the way of his plans. He is a zealot who gets angry and frustrated when people don't see it his way. He wants to lash out, and summary justice is his way of lashing out. Bush is very scary! The world will be a safer place when his term comes to an end.

Kim, I take your point. At the moment the government don't use the technology to control our lives, they know what we are doing but don't act on that information in most cases. But they could!

HenryCrun said...

So that's who the mumbling idiot up ath The Goyt is...

It doesn't stop with mobile phones either, Curlew. Think about ID cards and the latest pay-as-drive sat nav tracking, the proposals to do away with jury trials etc.

TB is one very scary person.

The Birdwatcher said...

Henrycrun - mumbling and gesticulating wildly in the wind today!

Interesting article by Henry Porter in the Observer. Apparently the police in Luton have begun a pilot scheme to randomly demand motorists'fingerprints. If you protest you can be arrested, taken to the station where you will be photographed, have you fingerprints and DNA taken. If true then the Lunatics really have taken over the asylum.

Thanks for reading my blog by the way.