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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Big Brother is Watching!

Privacy International recently published it's latest report and the trend to have our "free" societies become "surveillence societies".

(click on map to enlarge)

Canada is doing a little better at resisting this tendency than the US and Britain but our Conservative Government and pressure from the US over security issues has seen our country losing ground in this area. Once lost, and we give into the pressure to have government and its agencies snoop on us it is never reversed.
I hate the idea of officialdom constantly watching as I go about my daily life. This is the one truly conservative tendency in my progressive views which usually welcome positive government intervention to better serve people. Ironically, it it conservative countries that give in to this activity of bureaucracies. I don't understand why people aren't screaming bloody murder about it.
Cameras on our streets are being installed everywhere at an alarming rate. I read recently in Britain the average citizen going about his business in an urban area can expect to appear on 300 cameras every day. The US is rapidly following suit as well as bypassing the laws which we proposed to protect one's privacy and rights. In the city of Tronto they are installing thousands of cameras on the subway system. The only thing that makes me feel a little more secure is that people. ordinary people, watch the monitors and they probably do a bad job at this boring job of watching. Cameras are actually installed everywhere in the places we work, shop and play.
I wonder if all this invasion of our privacy actually increases our security? Do they every evaluate the success of such intrusions?
As I am writing this blog entry they are discussing on the radio how they use wireless technologies to watch methadone patients in the washroom to make sure they take their medication. Unfortunately, wireless devices can be picked up on the streets by anyone with the right equipment. What is supposed to be medical supervision is in effect public broadcasts. Luckily, Ontario's privacy commissioner sees this as a problem and some improvements will be made.
I don't this all this "security" is compatible with a "free society" To have Britain and the US in the same category as Russia and China should not make anyone feel good. Canada moving in the direction to join them I find dismaying.
We were warned! "Big Brother is Watching!"
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At 2:56 p.m., Blogger GaP said...

eeyep. A note from a neighbor down south. America LOVES Big Brother. Depressing

At 11:09 a.m., Blogger Neva said...

Very worrisome to the citizens of both Canada and the US.

At 12:58 p.m., Blogger deborah wilson said...


I agree with this post - citizen surveillence is very scary. Not everyone is the US agrees that it is the right way to go - many ARE screaming about it.

US governments, federal and state, declare cameras (such as in subways) a neccessity against terrorism and crime. States consider cameras to be a neccessity to help combat crime in high crime areas, especially within inner cities where drugs and gang activity are a problem.

In my city, there are cameras installed at certain intersections to help catch traffic violaters. For instance, if a vehicle is caught on camera speeding or running a redlight, a tag check is done and the owner of the vehicle is sent a traffic ticket via US mail.

I too wonder how far surveillence is going to go - I think we have more than enough already. No one want to be under a microscope every time they leave their homes or take a walk.

Concerning technology:
One day we will have to ask ourselves:
"Should we? Just because we can?"


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