Thursday, October 2, 2008

Big Brother Is Watching... Phew. I Feel Safer.

George Orwell: "I've been taken out of context."

Every time any authority comes up with an idea to keep us all safe, some arseclown from the X Civil Liberties Whatever Organisation comes thundering out and about. “Oh, it’s an infringement on our rights!” they yell.

I have a good friend who works in forensics and she’s trained up on that whole ‘face recognising’ thingamajig; you know, a camera that zooms in on people’s faces as they walk down the street and can recognise wanted criminals and shit. From what she’s told me, there’s certain barriers preventing it from being used extensively in the country. Budget, for one thing. Arseclowns opposing it, for another.

I’m getting old, I’m getting old, I’m getting old. “I have nothing to hide,” is my opinion. Bring it on! Put cameras on every street corner. Make me carry some Australia Card ID. Plant audio devices in my bedroom. I don’t care. If it means nabbing a psychopath who would otherwise do injury to me or others, it’s fine by me. I personally don’t give a flying fuck if some camera zooms in on my face as I’m walking down Brunswick Street with spinach stuck between my teeth. I’m not a wanted criminal. Whatever.

Same goes for x-ray scanning at airports, which Fairfax reports today is being criticized by some douche pulling the tired infringement on our rights line.

I love Orwell, and his ‘Big Brother’ message is being misconstrued by a bevy of fuck-knuckles who have probably never read his books. His point was about Governments controlling people. X-Ray machines at airports aren’t about controlling us, they are about preventing apocalyptic whack-jobs from bringing weapons on to planes, and decreasing the flow of smack, fauna, laundered cash and so on.

I say to the various Civil Liberties hystericals, what is more intrusive on my ‘liberty’? An x-ray machine at an airport, or a psycho with a knife at my throat?


patchouligirl said...

You can google the satellite image of your own house now how would you feel if you were sunbaking naked in the backyard when they took it?

Another one I heard on the radio is they are toying with the idea of DNA testing dog shit not picked up by owners so they can fine them by linking the DNA with a database of doggie DNA presumably collected at registration. I had to laugh at that one - Maitland council can't even organise to empty the dog poo bin in our local park on a regular enough basis! (This was solved by the local kids, in March we heard a massive explosion one night when someone put a bomb in it and blew it into a million metal pieces over a 50 metre radius. It hasn't been replaced.)

Mr E Discharge said...

“I have nothing to hide,”

I just got home from my Uncle Bill's funeral, and that's still the sadest thing I've seen today.

Buck up, young Perseus, the real disappointments in life are still ahead of you.

eat my shorts said...

I personally don’t give a flying fuck if some camera zooms in on my face as I’m walking down Brunswick Street with spinach stuck between my teeth.

As long as they're polite enough to tell you about the spinach stuck between your teeth. Letting you wander around like that with no idea about the spinach situation is just plain rude.

Perseus said...

Sorry to hear of your Uncle Bill, Mr. E.

Don't feel sad for me though - I wear my many disappointments with pride. As Henry Rollins once observed, "I have found a way of beating myself. I win by losing, or something like that."

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I'm inclined to agree with you Pers.

I can't see how it could infringe on civil liberities.

Privacy maybe, but not civil liberities.

wari lasi said...

At the risk of sounding like someone who just agrees with everything, I completely agree.

Desci said...

Pers, I love you, but this is absolute fucking bullshit.

What's the dodgiest thing you've done in public? Would you be happy to have someone gawk at it?

You say you have nothing to hide, but others do. Law abiding, dutiful citizens do. It's not so black and white.

Also, you're not a criminal, but you dabble in teh drugs. That's illegal. Besides that, do you follow every letter of the law?

Say 'they' mike up your room. Say, after a few wines, you and a friend have a completely hypothetical discussion about how easy it would be to, say, sneak a bomb on a plane, or some other line of conversation that you know is completely innocent. But Some Big Man takes it the wrong way and hauls you in for questioning, going through your computer while they're at it. From their point of view - and the media's following the beat-up they'd give you - they would be utterly justified in doing so. Because, what, some axe murderer is on the loose? How fucking often does that even happen?

Patchouligirl is right; what if you're sunbaking naked?

What if you're a celebrity, and decide to have a sneaky trip to a brothel, and Street View snaps you? What if the viewer of the tape has some axe to grind with the celeb, and leaks it? We're not talking about strolling down trendy areas with a spinach problem, and you know it.

The risk isn't big enough to sacrifice the right to bending the law (in the safest, least damaging way) or being able to do the fuck you want without having to worry about justifying yourself to the fucking government.

And X-ray machines are a far fucking cry from bugging private property and hooking up cameras to the streets, and you know it.

Desci says EPIC FAIL.

Perseus said...

I was exaggerating for effect.

Point is, an X-Ray Machine is no problem, surely.

'They' aren't going to put an audio bug in my room because I'm not Gangland Killer-Smith or Falafel Al-Quaeda or likely to be confused with either. It's never going to happen.

And if they did happen to have a photo of me sunbaking naked, I would assume this photo would not be posted by the Rudd Government on to ''

'Governments' are wide and varied. 'They' can mean Stalinist police states and Rudd-style Democracies. It's not just a case of what we are doing in the privacy of our homes, it's who 'they' are and what their intentions are.

In the case of cameras on the streets searching for criminals, it's exactly that. 'They' aren't trying to control us, they are looking for missing crims, and when fuckheads in King Street stab each other we can use the cameras to trace the perps.

I've never been to a brothel.

One would assume though, if there was a camera outside a brothel, the cops aren't going to shame the clients by sending the photos every morning to the Herald-Sun because we don't live in that sort of world.

If Stalin Jnr. leads the revolution in Australia and taked Government by force, then I'll join you in the anti-surveillance club. Until then, I like cameras lining Collins Street.

I love you too.

patchouligirl said...

Someone told me once that when red light cameras and speed cameras first came out they photographed the front of the vehicle and the photo would be sent to the persons house. This was a problem as people got sprung with their mistresses so they changed to photographing the back of the vehicle. I dont know whether thats true or not but it sounds plausible and its as bad as having your pic in front of a brothel sent to your wife.

As for Xrays in airports they can go for it as far as I'm concerned. I dont want some dickhead to sneak a bomb onto my flight. Security in public places to me is a different issue to photographing or bugging your house. I wish they'd put a camera in the park across the road and bust some of the dickheads on minibikes.

Desci said...

Yeah, but info gets leaked all the time. Sure, if you're sunbaking naked, they might not give it a second look. But what if it was a celebrity? Or even just a random attractive woman? Are you telling me that there is no way someone with access to the system wouldn't make a copy, perhaps for passing around the office? Stuff like that happens all the time in both the government and police force.

And how do you know 'they' aren't going to find some reason to bug you? What if you post and make an offhanded comment about the traffic on the Westgate, making a tongue-in-cheek, offhanded remark about wishing you could just bomb it?

''s who 'they' are and what their intentions are.'

You're right. But we have one government now, what if the next one - once these measures were in affect - decided that they were a little more hard-line on an issue, for example, piracy, and used the equipment for a slightly different reason, and a gradual shift in protocol meant that suddenly a sneaky joint at home was cause for the drug squad busting down your door.

Same with the cameras on the street. Today they're only used to nab knife-wielding louts, tomorrow they're a handy way of upping your quota on a shit day when you need to bust a few people taking a leak in an alley (bad example, those fuckers deserve punishment)... having a quickie up against a wall, then.

'One would assume though, if there was a camera outside a brothel, the cops aren't going to shame the clients by sending the photos every morning to the Herald-Sun because we don't live in that sort of world'

We don't live in that sort of world NOW.

But, for the sake of argument, I'll refer you back to my first comment. What if some cop hated Well Known Citizen X. What if whoever was viewing the tapes (we'll say a cop) had an axe to grind, because Well Known Citizen X actually fucked his wife last year, or screwed him on a share price, or whatever. Can you honestly tell me that these tapes would never be accidentally leaked to a news room?

In the case of King Street, what if Famous Conservative Person X was seen leaving a titty bar - are you telling me that the surveillance person might not try and make a little money by blackmailing them for the pics? Or just auctioning them off to the highest bidding media outlet?

patchouligirl said...

what if Famous Conservative Person X was seen leaving a titty bar Like Kevin Rudd? I had to laugh at how it actually made him more popular but it could have gone the other way of course.