We’re under watch

PUBLISHED: 13:28 15 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:51 28 May 2010

A BOFFIN engaged in surveillance has invented a technological spy – the micro-drone – more like a flying frying pan, the latest thing in CCTV to monitor our every move. There is a valid argument that devices such as this are useful in recording crime. Yet

A BOFFIN engaged in surveillance has invented a technological spy - the micro-drone - more like a flying frying pan, the latest thing in CCTV to monitor our every move.

There is a valid argument that devices such as this are useful in recording crime. Yet I cannot help feeling there is something worryingly wrong when we are unable to go about our business without being spied upon by systems more appropriate to the super-efficiency of the former East German regime.

Spy cameras are rigged up on walls, posts, disguised as street lamps, aimed at customers in shops and banks, poised to catch cars and even used to take photographs of houses for tax purposes.

How many citizens are aware that March has a spy in the sky? A multi-lens CCTV project from beneath Britannia surmounting the tower of March town hall. It covers the town centre and focuses distantly, advantaged by a height of about 150 feet.

Do they work? I watched the camera outside the library turn into position and gave it a wave. The operator in his office made the camera nod up and down!

All this reflects the times in which we live. Alarmingly Orwellian. Big Brother keeping pace with threatened inspection of our homes and what we put in our rubbish bins.

Beacons and satellites to track vehicles. Even traffic wardens and the police will walk around with cameras attached to the side of their heads.

Gas and electricity services want to change meters to assess how much energy we save.

Surveillance poles vie with the intrusiveness of scores of super-poles glorified as wind farms scattered about the countryside.

We are a nation addicted to pole culture to the same intensity of mobile phones and i-pods. Is there no escape? Freedom of conscience gives way to electronic must-haves and insidious encroachment of CCTV being forced upon us in the finest Stalinist tradition.

New technology can harbour sinister implications. Like political correctness, it's becoming a boring joke. The downturn is it has all the ingredients of insurgency.

TREVOR BEVIS

St Peter's Road

March


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