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calendar   Sunday - April 29, 2007

Paranoia Alert

Don’t look now but ... somebody is watching you at this very moment. No matter where you go in Britain, you’re under surveillance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But before the rest of us here in America and in quite a few countries around the world get all smug and start chuckling about our Brit friends’ loss of privacy, you better look over your shoulder. There is probably a camera close by even if you’re in Washington, New York, Los Angeles or even Bumphuk, Iowa.

Face it, in an era where terrorists are all around us we have surrendered any pretense of privacy in order to be safe. Then again, this started long before Osama got uppity and started blowing up buildings. No, dear friends, our government started installing cameras ages ago to catch speeding violators, Wal-mart started installing cameras to catch shoplifters, toll booths were equipped with cameras to catch people trying to sneak through, banks, liquor stores and every convenience store on the planet installed cameras to record robbery attempts and employee theft.

Heck, even libraries have cameras nowadays to catch book thieves. You can’t make a phone call any more without hearing the message “This call may be recorded for quality purposes la-dee-da-dee-dah”. Turn on your computer and connect to the internet and Microsoft wants to know what you’re doing. Your internet service provider is keeping track of where you surf. At work, your phone calls are subject to being monitored and your e-mails are kept on backup tapes forever in the event you decide to flirt with that secretary on the 2nd floor and she wants to sue for harassment ... ten years from now.

Do you have a cell phone? If so, Sprint and Verizon know exactly where you are at all times. The FBI, CIA, KGB and MI6 can’t keep track of all the ways they now have at their disposal in order to monitor your every move. Stakeouts are a thing of the past. Who needs ‘em with cameras everywhere? We’re only one step away from “1984” ... and that is a two-way television that watches you while you watch it, as Orwell predicted. He was only off by about 20-30 years.

No, I’m not kidding. Do you see that little cable TV box next to your TV? I bet you think it’s just passing signals through to your TV for your entertainment? You may even have convinced yourself that it’s not capturing viewing information that can be used to manage programming in your area and/or sold to advertising agencies for targeted marketing campaigns. If so, you are incredibly stupid.

Cell phones with cameras are all over the place. It’s not just government or merchants spying on us ... we’re spying on each other 24/7. Everybody knows what everybody is doing and it’s all being recorded somewhere to be used against you when the opportunity arises. So go on about your business today and pay no attention to those camera lenses, GPS devices and microphones all around you. They’re just looking out for you.

Now adjust your tinfoil hat and try to have a nice day ... and welcome to a brave new world.

Britain Becoming A Big Brother Society, Says Data Watchdog
(THE INDEPENDENT-UK) - 29 April 2007

imageimageBritain is in danger of “committing slow social suicide” as such Big Brother techniques as surveillance cameras and recording equipment spread into every aspect of our lives, the nation’s information watchdog will warn this week.

A new report from Richard Thomas, the information commissioner, will say that the public needs to be made more aware of the “creeping encroachment” on civil liberties created by email monitoring, CCTV and computer tracking of our buying habits.

It is understood that one of the concerns in Mr Thomas’s report is the use of special listening devices which can be placed in lamp posts, street furniture and offices. These are already widely used in the Netherlands to combat crime and anti-social behaviour.

More than 300 of the cameras with built-in microphones have been fitted in benefit offices and city centres. The equipment can pick up aggressive tones on the basis of decibel level, pitch and speed at which words are spoken.

Westminster council has already started piloting the listening devices, but experts say the use of these microphones raises questions about how surveillance can be used to intrude into the private lives of citizens.

He will also call for greater regulation of companies that supply surveillance technology which provides “convenience or safety for the more affluent majority”, but not for the vulnerable such as children, immigrants and the elderly.

His warning comes as MPs launch their first inquiry into the impact of surveillance in Britain. The Home Affairs Select Committee will investigate the use of video cameras to monitor high streets and residential areas as well as the holding of personal information on both government and commercial databases.

On Tuesday, Mr Thomas, who last year warned that Britain was “sleepwalking into a surveillance society”, will tell the committee at its first hearing that new safeguards must be introduced to protect the public from the increasing intrusion of surveillance into their daily lives.

Civil liberty campaigners have already warned that Britain is becoming a Big Brother society where its citizens are increasingly being watched. There are more than four million CCTV cameras in this country, one for every 14 people, and the national DNA database which was set up by police to combat crime now holds 3.5 million profiles.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 04/29/2007 at 01:30 AM   
Filed Under: • OppressionScience-Technology •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.

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