.... And remember - you will have nothing to fear so long as you're not doing anything 'wrong'. Because Big Brother is a good, kind, beneficent Big Brother. A Big Brother who always has your best interests at heart; who can be relied upon to protect you from wicked 'Terrorists' and anything else harmful to your wellbeing - including yourself.
IT is a chilling, dystopian account of what Britain will look like 10 years from now: a world in which Fortress Britain uses fleets of tiny spy-planes to watch its citizens, of Minority Report-style pre-emptive justice, of an underclass trapped in sink-estate ghettos under constant state surveillance, of worker drones forced to take on the lifestyle and values of the mega-corporation they work for, and of the super-rich hiding out in gated communities constantly monitored by cameras and private security guards.
This Orwellian vision of the future was compiled on the orders of the UK's information commissioner - the independent watchdog meant to guard against government and private companies invading the privacy of British citizens and exploiting the masses of information currently held on each and every one of us - by the Surveillance Studies Network, a group of academics.On Friday, this study, entitled A Report on the Surveillance Society, was picked over by a select group of government mandarins, politicians, police officers and academics in Edinburgh. It is unequivocal in its findings, with its first sentence reading simply: "We live in a surveillance society." The information commissioner, Richard Thomas, endorses the report. He says: "Today, I fear that we are, in fact, waking up to a surveillance society that is already all around us."
The academics who compiled the study based their vision of the future not on wild hypotheses but on existing technology, statements made about the intentions of government and private companies and studies by other think tanks, regulators, professional bodies and academics.
The report authors say that they believe the key theme of the future will be "pervasive surveillance" aimed at tracking and controlling people and pre-empting behaviour. The authors also say that their glimpse of the future is "fairly conservative. The future spelled out in the report is nowhere near as dystopian and authoritarian as it could be."
Monday, October 08, 2007
Neil Mackay in Scotland's Sunday Herald provides the following introduction to a report commissioned by the UK Information Commissioner entitled "A Report on the Surveillance Society":