UK Liberty

If an evil man comes to power, the last thing you will worry about is ID cards and CCTV

David Aaronovitch spoke in a recent Guardian/Observer debate on civil liberties.

One of his points in particular stood out, a criticism of what other people have said, which is that “ok, today’s Government isn’t malign, but a future Government may be, and that’s a good reason to be against CCTV / ID cards / some other means of state control and surveillance”.

Aaronovitch responded with something along the lines of, “if a brutal dictator came to power, those are the last things you will or should be worried about”.

Which is true (to a point).

But it seems an all too casual dismissal of the counterpoint that such systems make it easier for malicious people to do us harm.

Would for example the Nazis have so efficiently executed the Holocaust had they no access to the Hollerith punch card systems?

Surely it is reasonable to believe a group classification on an ID database facilitates persecution of a particular group?

I think that is a valid argument – not something I find particularly important, but a valid argument nonetheless – and indeed there is plenty of precedent for it.

However, what seems much more likely to happen in the UK (indeed it seems to go on at the moment) is the boring, mindless oppression (distributed authoritarianism, or soft fascism) caused by Nanny, government busybodies and so on, not to mention the usual data abuse.

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One Response

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  1. Orwell's Dreams said, on February 9, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Nice Commentary! “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face-for ever.” – George Orwell


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