Society

Britain’s Intrusive Surveillance System

Peter Hitchens recently mentioned in his blog that technology will eventually enslave us all. He referred to the recent film “Ghost in the Shell’ thus:

“I was intrigued to see that the future world in which this film is set is – once again – in a place of gloom and decay, much like now but worse. There are gangsters and sordid bars, people smoke, everyone’s crammed into hamster-cage flats in inhuman megacities. Ever since Blade Runner and Alien, and also in Minority Report, new technology is not seen as a road to happiness, liberty or prosperity. I used to think this was pessimistic. Now I think they’ve got it about right.”

Today we live in an age where there is a technology battle front being waged against citizens of the West and the people are losing it on every front – nowhere is that battle raging most in Western democracies than in Britain.

Britain already has a reputation for deploying the most intrusive surveillance systems against its own people in the Western world. Widely reported just a few days ago, it appears the government has just awarded itself the ability to monitor and surveil the live communications of the British general public at will. In addition, it also forces encryption backdoors to be made available to the authorities by privacy driven communications services such as WhatsApp. This is an exploit that will see a considerable degrading of security for everyone in Britain, which will inevitably lead to hugely increased hacking by criminals.

The reality though is much more insidious than first thought. Although we all see the sense in security keeping up with fast changing technologies, the government has been passing laws that in effect has done little more than salami-slice our civil liberties and human rights to the point of extinguishing their real effectiveness. They are are being systematically dismantled, driven through the false narrative of security. As a reality check, you are far more likely to die at the hands of your underwear or toaster than a terrorist.

Just last month legislation was passed that contained a section stating police can order the shutdown of communications on a mobile phone.  This power also allows authorities to restrict or disable a person’s mobile phone communications (at will) if they are suspected of even being associated with crimes, whether or not they have actually committed a crime or not.

Any idea of where this is leading to? How about a report by Salon entitled: “The chilling tech that brings “Minority Report” inches from reality.”

Salon reviews a new documentary on “Pre-Crime” that shows how police use big data to stalk potential offenders who’ve yet to break the law.

“As shown in “Pre-Crime“— the documentary premiered last weekend at Toronto’s Hot Docs film festival — police departments around the world are partnering with private companies to use public data, personal information and algorithms to predict where illegal actions are most likely to occur and, crucially, who is most likely to commit them.”

And just for clarity the German director of the documentary says “Pre-crime” is a reference to a Hollywood movie called “Minority Report” in which people are arrested for crimes they have not committed – yet.

The documentary explains how police forces are now already using algorithms to calculate the risk of an individual breaking the law.

“There’s a list in Chicago with 1,500 people on it. They are under surveillance by the police and there is a special algorithm that calculates the risk of you committing a crime.”

Salon asks the question – “There are predictive police programs in Fresno, Philadelphia, Chicago, and in Kent and London, England  featured in the film. Are these all pilot programs? And the chilling answer from the director of the documentary “Not any longer. Kent’s program is 4 years old.”

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June 2017
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