Invasion of the privacy snatchers

There is a lot of press coverage at the moment about invasion of privacy, and much discussion on how it can be protected (privacy, not the invasion of it). We have been told about how Facebook and other social networking tools 'own and use' our personal data. Several news items in the last 24 hours have dealt with reactions to the use of technology to snoop on, record or track ordinary people. First there are the very naughty boys at Google who have upset the normally placid residents of a sleepy English village.

Those living in the quiet village of Broughton were alerted to the presence of the Street View Google car as it trundled into their outskirts with its robot 360 degree camera atop. They stopped the car, challenged the driver, gave him a lecture about their privacy, and politely persuaded him to leave the same way he had come. The press and media of course, got hold of the story - and with their characteristic understatedness have dubbed the incident the 'Battle of Broughton'. Now the village of Broughton and its residents have been invaded by dozens more cameras, lighting rigs, satellite vans, intrepid reporters and film crews, all intent on protecting the privacy of the villagers, by broadcasting their faces and identities to the world.

In another news item reported on the same day, Members of the European Parliament (that hotbed of democracy and decency), have called for organisations that track web use, to themselves be tracked and surveilled. The expression 'who watches the watchers?' begins to take on an entirely new complexion. The news item says that the Euro MPs have called for organisations who transgress to be blacklisted.

These reports 'would name and shame organisations carrying out illegal or disproportionate amounts of surveillance' says the news item. Does that perchance also include the UK government then? After all, the British people are the most observed and surveilled people on the planet. There are per capita more closed circuit TV cameras on the streets of Britain than there are in any other nation. For it's encore, the UK government is considering putting trackers into cars to check how many miles each of us do every month. And they are putting sensors inside wheelie-bins to see how much rubbish we throw away every week. Next they will no doubt want to measure how much toilet paper in inches each of us use. Eeew.

The invasion of the privacy snatchers has started. But it's not those naughty boys from Google we should be worrying about. It's the government that gets in no matter who you vote for...

Image Source (inspired by @MarkPower)


Maureen said…
Here in NZ the latest is a plane that can identify from the air those of us that have homes which are not sufficiently insulated, thereby wasting precious resources.

From Maureen Perkins
Jackie said…
Is it an invasion of privacy for a boss to put a tracker into MY own vehicle (not a company one), to monitor whether or not I am working the hours Iam supposed to be. I don't mind the 9-5 check, as I am doing my work, it's the 6-9 I've the problem with.

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