The machine is out of control. Personal surveillance in Britain is so extensive that no democratic oversight is remotely plausible. Some 800 organisations, including the police, the revenue, local and central government, demanded (and almost always got) 253,000 intrusions on citizen privacy in the last recorded year, 2006. This is way beyond that of any other country in the free world.
It’s not just that Britain has monitoring cameras everywhere, it’s that those 800 agencies can request “covert access to communications records, car plate recognition cameras, mobile phone location fixing, and monitoring by credit, travel and shopping cards” without much trouble, apparently.
A report by the government information commissioner said fears that the UK would “sleep walk into a surveillance society” have become reality.
It had predicted that within 10 years, shoppers would be scanned as they entered stores, parents would secure the means to check what their children ate at school and employers would have the complete health history of a job applicant without his or her knowledge.
Sounds not unlike what the Stasi, the East Germany secret police, attempted to do.