Friday, February 6, 2009

Here comes a candle to light you to bed...

So a Lords committee has condemned the erosion of citizens' privacy inherent in the storage of innocent people's data on the DNA database, and the fact that we now have the highest number of CCTV cameras per head of population in the world. The government's response is the familiar one - the impact on privacy is a justifiable trade-off for the reduction of crime, and is one that many people feel perfectly comfortable with. Indeed, they actually feel safer for always being watched. But, as I mused on Twitter a couple of hours ago, where does this logic end? After all, there are some people who believe sufficiently in the benevolence of the authorities that they would feel perfectly comfortable with - and safer because of - government-controlled cameras in their bedroom. Such an Orwellian vision may seem fanciful at the moment, but the logic of the current position has a kind of inexorability to it - after all, rape in particular is such a notoriously difficult crime to prove, and how else will that ever change without blanket surveillance extending to the most intimate areas of people's lives? If a marker isn't put down somewhere, a government camera in every bedroom could be sold as a price worth paying within a few decades.

PS. I set up the Twitter account last night to give me another way of at least keeping this page ticking over should my interest in blogging wane a little from time to time (if you've followed this blog you'll know that's not entirely inconceivable). Knowing me, though, now I've said that I'll probably end up not updating either one!

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