Could this make it's way across the pond?

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by tj2000, May 3, 2007.

  1. tj2000

    tj2000 Guest

    From the UK today!!!

    Big Brother microphones could be next step
    By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor
    Last Updated: 1:52am BST 02/05/2007

    Your view: Do we need a "surveillance society" to protect us from terrorism?
    Hidden mini-cameras and microphones that can eavesdrop on conversations in the street are the next step in the march towards a "Big Brother" society, MPs were warned yesterday.

    Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, said a debate had begun about whether listening devices should be set up alongside Britain's 4.5 million CCTV cameras.

    Talking CCTV: a bridge too far

    In evidence to the Commons home affairs committee, Mr Thomas said he would be hostile to such an idea.

    He was also alarmed by the prospect of tiny cameras, hidden in lamp posts, replacing more obvious monitors.

    Mr Thomas even considered that so-called ''talking CCTV'', which is to be trialled in 20 areas across the country, might be a ''bridge too far''. This system allows operators to bellow orders at those deemed to be behaving badly.

    He said it was arguable that surveillance in Britain - which is greater than in any other democratic nation - may already have gone too far. It was crucial, he added, to ''proceed with caution'' to avoid creating a climate suspicion.

    MPs told Mr Thomas that their constituents were keen on CCTV, which they found reassuring.

    But Mr Thomas said that a proper assessment of whether other means of crime control, such as improved street lighting, might be a better was rarely carried out.

    He called for ''privacy impact assessments'', which are used in Australia and America every time a public authority wants to introduce CCTV or start a database.

    Mr Thomas believes the Information Commissioner's Office should have more powers to investigate privacy breaches without seeking the consent of organisations such as the NHS or Whitehall departments.

    Another idea is to introduce a website detailing the position of CCTV cameras as well as automatic numberplate recognition devices on motorways.

    Mr Thomas said: "We would be wholly against hidden cameras unless there is an extremely good reason in very, very limited circumstances."

    John Denham, the committee chairman, said there appeared to be little evidence that anyone's life had been adversely affected by CCTV or data sharing. But Mr Thomas said complaints were regularly received at his office. He cited a case in Essex where images of a man who had been trying to commit suicide were used on television to show the benefits of CCTV in tackling crime.

    He said it was important there was not a "free-for-all" in accessing people's information.

    Mr Thomas quoted Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the US, who said: "Those who lightly give up their liberties in the name of safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    "I think there is something in that," Mr Thomas added.

    Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "This Government has got away with the construction of a surveillance state behind the backs of the British people for far too long."

    It may already be here.

  2. slabertooch

    slabertooch New Member

    :shock: a brit quoting a yankee rebel, and agreeing with him.
    OK I'm scared

  3. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    A brit quoting a terrorist against the crown?!

    off to the reeducation camp for him!