Sunday, September 29

Little Brother is watching - You'd have to be living under a rock not to know that security cameras are everywhere these days, as the NY Times relates. Still, you tend to forget these things in your day-to-day life.

One of the things you notice traveling in Britain are the ubiquitous signs on shops and public spaces informing you that you are being surveilled. The U.K. has the highest number of closed-circuit TV cameras per capita in the world, and this fact is not easily forgotten since the nation also has a law requiring such warnings. Lawmakers in the United States tend to look the other way when private citizens or corporations videotape you, but they can create quite a stir if it's the government doing the watching. Republican congressman Dick Armey is leading the charge against the computerized video surveillance technique known as facial recognition. One doubts, though, that he'd ever support a law like Britain's Data Protection Act, which requires any video camera operator, whether public or private, to turn over any tapes they have of an individual who requests them within 40 days.

With all that archival tape out there, maybe the next Big Brother show in Britain could just use film from McDonalds restaurants and the local super market. Oh, wait, someone's already thought of that.