Sunday, 8 February 2009

Just because you are paranoid...

There is an expression that 'just because you are paranoid, it doesn't mean they are not watching you'. Well, this expression can be done away with because, paranoid or not, they are actually watching you!

An article in the Independent today stated that the government intelligence centre will store "names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details for all 250 million journeys made in and out of the UK each year". This is added to the recording of "every phone call, email and internet visit made in the UK " that is already planned (Independent article), and the storing of innocent people's DNA (Liberty human rights website).

While a lot of people are concerned over this, rightly stating that it is a breach of personal privacy, others aren't. The argument is that if a person is not doing anything wrong, what have they got to fear. Well this is true, but the problem is the definition of 'wrong' changes. Once a government decided it was 'wrong' for Jews to exist, or those helping Jews to exist. A fair few governments think it is 'wrong' for political activists to exist, for human rights activists, women's rights activists or any other activists to exist. It also becomes so easy in a world full of fear of 'terrorists' to brand someone you don't like as such. In some countries I would be branded a terrorist for writing this blog. Now that you have read this blog you are now an associate of this terrorist and have been recorded as such in a central database.

So apparently it is being done for our safety, and maybe it is, I don't know. But just a brief look at history and a brief look at governments around the world should tell you that it isn't safe in the long term.

We are said to live in a democracy so I suggest we get more informed as to the issues (here is a start), that we inform others, and that we then make our choice be known and be acted on.

As always I welcome your comments.

PS. For a free audiobook of George Orwell's 1984, which is both a very interesting novel and a very powerful warning of what can happen with too much surveillance, click here.


  1. Well at first it seems very improbable that the Government actually has the energy to set up all this with all the serious problems they should be dealing with (the crisis and the environment, for example). They are proposing a solution to give people a feeling of safety (the question is: where does the fear really come from?). But I can't stop but think: what else can they do to better serve the citizens? I don't know the answer to that, but they should come up with some other solution, anything. People shouldn't agree with this.

    What annoys me the most is nobody actually ever asks the citizens of a country whether they want some law to be made or not?! I know that's what the Parliament is invented for, but not everybody follows what they vote there. That's one of the flaws of democracy. Basically we can't all just laze around, not care about anything else but our own lifes. We really have to get involved, pay attention and express our opinion - and be heard!

  2. Yeah, energy could be so much better spent, needs to be so much better spent! If the same amount of money was spent on developing peace as is spent on war and defense the world would be such a different place!

    And yeah, democracy needs improving!

  3. Wow! I can't believe this, quite interesting. I get the feeling (and I am referring to the states) that the general population is so consumed and preoccupied with their 'busy' superficial lives that if they do not worry about the decisions being made they are better off. The level of apathy is astonishing. "Leave the decision making to the elected officials (those of which some people blindly voted on) and let me go about my busy day at work." Sometimes I get the feeling people feel too defeated to even think of actually opposing federal rulings.
    Anyway, thank you again for such a great post!

  4. Thank you!

    Yes, there seems to be some apathy here too, though people will happily march if their jobs are threatened. But yeah as to most things I think you are right, people don't care as long as they are left alone, or if they do care feel quite powerless.

    I also wonder whether something is percieved real by the masses only if it is played on TV a lot (well apart from stuff experienced by the self).


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