Citizens of the United Kingdom have become one of the most surveilled, tracked, and traced populations on the earth, with around 4 million surveillance cameras watching their every move. While the United States is moving in the same direction, the U.K. has moved much further in many respects with the construction of a police state control grid. The 9/11 attacks, and even more so the London bombings of July 7th, 2005 have been the reasoning behind the increased security measures. It's not just surveillance cameras they have to worry about, new laws are being passed and others proposed which would place yet another layer of Orwellian control over their lives. George Orwell's legendary piece of literature “ 1984 ", published in 1949 depicted a horrific, despotic society in which every human being is surveilled. Their conversations are monitored, every movement scrutinized, and any notion of privacy was long forgotten. Today, with technology advancing exponentially every year, and the threat of terrorism as one of the driving factors in its advance, Orwell's vision has moved out of the realm of fantasy, and into vivid reality. He gave us a stern warning, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face – forever.”
Across Britain, CCTV cameras have been fitted with loudspeakers designed to allow the individuals monitoring activity on the street to shout at and shame offenders. The loudspeakers drone with the announcement: 'Warning - you are being monitored by CCTV - Warning - you are in an alcohol-free zone, please refrain from drinking'; and Warning - your behaviour is being monitored by CCTV. It is being recorded and the police are attending.'
National Identification cards, similar to the Real ID act set to become law by 2009 in the United States, are being implemented in the U.K. Despite widespread opposition to the cards, plans are moving forward with harsh penalties against those who refuse to accept the new form of ID. A ccording to the UK Daily Mail , "James Hall, the official in charge of the supposedly-voluntary scheme, said the Government would allow people to opt out - but in return they must "forgo the ability" to have a travel document." Not only will information about individuals be stored on a national database, this information will be sold to banks in order to finance the ongoing ID scheme.
In 2005, police were given sweeping powers to arrest and photograph anyone for any offence. John Steele of the London Telegraph commented on the new powers , "At present, officers can generally arrest people if they suspect them of committing an offence which carries at least five years in prison. They will now have the discretion to detain someone if they suspect any offence and think that an arrest is "necessary"."
Now, the Home Office has proposed new laws which would allow those who let their dogs to defecate on the pavement, litter droppers, and those who do not wear seat belts to have their fingerprints or DNA taken and placed in a database. Also included in the proposal is the creation of mini-jails in shopping centers to detain minor offenders.
Yet another plan from the Home Office involves the installing of x-ray cameras on lamp posts which officials admit can see through clothing.
In 2002, posters began appearing across London displaying artwork reminiscent of 1940's propaganda. "Secure beneath the watchful eyes" read the ominous poster.
Yet more bizarre propaganda can be seen in a video for the DVLA, broadcast over television, reminding citizens of the unblinking cameras watching them as they travel down the road. Set to the tune of "Chitty Chitty bang bang," this makes for a surreal scene.
Microchips in trash bins sounds as Orwellian as anything - and even he didn't envision it - but this is exactly what is happening in the U.K. Recently, 72 year old Cyril Baker of Bournemouth discovered a chip in his trash bin. Apparently he didn't take kindly to it and ripped it off. After the incident he appeared on television to instruct his neighbors on how to do the same. As reported by the Daily Mail , trials have begun in which "Nearly 250,000 households have had microchips fitted to their rubbish bins in a test of the equipment necessary for sending families bills according to how full their bins are."
A trash can bug
In another Orwellian development, schoolchildren are being tricked into submitting their fingerprints to secret databases. By telling the children that they were playing a game of spies, they were successfully tricked. It's "just a game...so there's no need to tell your parents," they were told. As reported in the Daily Mail , "Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty, said: 'Authoritarian societies usually sacrifice the rights and freedoms of vulnerable minorities first. Sadly Blair's Britain is taking the same path."
In what many consider the apex of the Big Brother surveillance society, the idea of implanting human beings with microchips has risen. In the United States, Senator Joseph Biden, during John Roberts Supreme Court confirmation hearings, asked Roberts: “Can microscopic tags be implanted in a person's body to track his every movement? There's actual discussion about that - you will rule on that, mark my words, before your tenure is over."
The same concern is present in the minds of Britons, who, as the London Evening Standard reports 'Could be microchipped like dogs in a decade.' "The prospect of 'chip-citizens' - with its terrifying echoes of George Orwell's 'Big Brother' police state in the book 1984 - was raised in an official report for Britain's Information Commissioner Richard Thomas into the spread of surveillance technology," the Standard reported. "The reports editors Dr David Murakami Wood, managing editor of the journal Surveillance and Society and Dr Kirstie Ball, an Open University lecturer in Organisation Studies, claim that by 2016 our almost every movement, purchase and communication could be monitored by a complex network of interlinking surveillance technologies."
As the western world clamors for protection, a control grid is being built that threatens to choke the life out of humanity. Let this be a call then for free human beings to not allow themselves to be enslaved.
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