I like to think that it couldn’t happen here. The fact is that cameras are on their way to becoming as common in the USA as they are in Britain. Did you know that there’s one camera for every four families in Britain? Can they even go to the bog without being watched?
The Daily Mail precently osted an article on a new development in people-watching by the British government with the addition of loudspeakers that allow the watchers to start talking as well as watching.
The Mail on Sunday watched as a cyclist riding through a pedestrian area was ordered to stop.
‘Would the young man on the bike please get off and walk as he is riding in a pedestrian area,’ came the command.
The surprised youth stopped, and looked about. A look of horror spread across his face as he realised the voice was referring to him.
He dismounted and wheeled his bike through the crowded streets, as instructed.
Law-abiding shopper Karen Margery, 40, was shocked to hear the speakers spring into action as she walked past them.
Afterwards she said: ‘It’s quite scary to realise that your every move could be monitored – it really is like Big Brother.
‘But Middlesbrough does have a big problem with anti-social behaviour, so it is very reassuring.’
I certainly don’t have much complaint with methods that reduce crime, but the Big Brother of 1984 is definitely settling in to stay over there.
How much time will pass before the cameras start appearing in people’s homes? How often do the operators, or even more likely hackers, record video from those cameras and post them on the internet? What sort of controls are in place to keep the operators from behaving as though they can dictate lawful behavior?
I also wonder how long it will take before people who live and work in high traffic areas get sick and tired of the disembodied voice interrupting their lives. It’s bad enough having to listen to people going by, talking loudly on their cell phones. What’s it going to be like having to listen to a government loudmouth shouting at people all day?