Thursday, May 12, 2011

The database state expands

The Guardian reports that UK police have begun using online tracking software, designed to map information pillaged from mobile phones, satnav systems, financial transactions and social networking sites to track criminal suspects' movements and communications in real time. The police's intended use? "Public order disturbances". Which is police-speak for "protests".

Think about that for a moment. In a democratic society, you are supposed to be free to speak your mind. But if you do so in the UK, you'll end up in a database, your every movement tracked for "suspicious" connections. The UK already conducts unlawful surveillance of protestors, but this will take it to another level entirely. The intimidation factor and chilling effect is likely to be huge.

But then, that's the point, isn't it? To ensure an "orderly" society, where nobody speaks out, and everybody does what they are told. Such a society is very good for the people at the top. As for the people at the bottom, well, they get to go to jail if they object. Just like they did in the Soviet Union.