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Christian. (That means that I know that Jesus is Lord!) Programmer. Gamer. Weak 3D artist. Geek.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Do we need a 'surveillance society'?

I read an interesting article on Telegraph.co.uk this morning.. (I now get their RSS feed into Vienna, the open-source RSS reader for Mac OS X)

Basically, the question posed is as to whether we should have a society where we are monitored and have our communications open to Government perusal or do we be more blase about it, whilst running the risk of terrorists being able to roam our country unchecked?

Don't get me wrong - I don't like the idea of being monitored or having my data or information available to those who I don't intend it to be read by - but the problem becomes one of national security.

What do we actually have to hide? Do we genuinely have something to fear from our own government agencies? Do we really need to be concerned that that data might be used unwisely?

Well, I think that we do - but somehow there needs to be a balance struck between the freedom of privacy and the requirement to protect our nation and it's populace.
Where should the line be drawn?

Personally, I find it quite a terrifying notion that small bombs can be easily made using products you can buy in Tesco or Sainsbury's. These items could be bought at varying stores in completely different locations, paid for using cash so that the transactions can't be traced.

By not telling anybody and by seeking an entirely personal agenda, the bomb would most likely be a success.

Currently, the main methods by which terrorist plots are discovered is because those terrorists often don't work alone. They are often working as part of a much larger group and their communication either by cell-phone or e-mail must have been intercepted at some point. Either that or someone from within the group loses their 'courage' and switches sides, handing the information to our anti-terrorist police units.

Personally, whilst I totally value the privacy and liberty that we have within this country - I fear that it really is only a matter of years before we'll see huge increases in the surveillance our government imposes upon us.

Though the question still remains, is this such a bad thing when it really is our safety at stake?

D/E