Wednesday, April 04, 2007

UK Interim data retention measures published

The Register reports that the Home Office has published draft regulations to require data retention for the interim period before the data retention directive must be implemented. As with the current Irish law this will cover details of all calls made or texts sent, and also location data in the case of mobile phones. The Home Office proposes a twelve month retention period with discretionary cost reimbursement for affected telcos.

The telescreen: coming soon to a street near you

The Telegraph reports that:
Britain is already one of the most watched nations on earth and now "talking” CCTV cameras are to be installed in 20 areas across the country.

The loudspeakers will allow CCTV operators to bark orders at people committing anti-social behaviour.
As usual, Eric Blair was well ahead of Tony Blair:
'Smith!' screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith W.! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You're not trying. Lower, please! That's better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.'

Monday, April 02, 2007

Eric Blair watched by Tony Blair

This is London takes a look at the pervasive surveillance surrounding George Orwell's former home:
According to the latest studies, Britain has a staggering 4.2million CCTV cameras - one for every 14 people in the country - and 20 per cent of cameras globally. It has been calculated that each person is caught on camera an average of 300 times daily.

Use of spy cameras in modern-day Britain is now a chilling mirror image of Orwell's fictional world, created in the post-war Forties in a fourth-floor flat overlooking Canonbury Square in Islington, North London.

On the wall outside his former residence - flat number 27B - where Orwell lived until his death in 1950, an historical plaque commemorates the anti-authoritarian author. And within 200 yards of the flat, there are 32 CCTV cameras, scanning every move.

Orwell's view of the tree-filled gardens outside the flat is under 24-hour surveillance from two cameras perched on traffic lights.

The flat's rear windows are constantly viewed from two more security cameras outside a conference centre in Canonbury Place.

In a lane, just off the square, close to Orwell's favourite pub, the Compton Arms, a camera at the rear of a car dealership records every person entering or leaving the pub.

Within a 200-yard radius of the flat, there are another 28 CCTV cameras, together with hundreds of private, remote-controlled security cameras used to scrutinise visitors to homes, shops and offices.

The message is reminiscent of a 1949 poster to mark the launch of Orwell's 1984: 'Big Brother is Watching You'.