Thursday, November 02, 2006

Watching (Xanad)u

For my A-level English course i had to read A Handmaid's Tale and write an essay entitled 'Margaret Atwood successfully reflects the major concerns of our era in her creation of the dystopian Republic of Gilead. Discuss' If you haven't read the book, the world the characters live in is monitored through Compucheks, Identipasses and undercover spies called Eyes, which, in light of the reports in the last few days, seems quite fitting.
I'm not the most politically minded person, but my, well our, civil liberties are the one thing that i feel passion about. Hopefully i'll be able to communicate my thoughts, although usually it all gets jumbled up in my head and comes out in a bit of a mess, but there's alot up there, especially after just having watch Newsnight, where this topic was its main feature.
I can't really see how we've let it get this bad already, we let organizations and companies collect database of our own personal information, sometimes without any permission, and then we find out that through a lack of safeguards and protection, the data is very unsecure and could be easily infiltrated. You'd think that they'd take a bit more care over all this but then again i doubt if any of the leading figures have added their info to it, so what's the point in all the security. The main worry about these massive databases is when the info starts to get traded between them, i mean through supermarket store cards, Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda have a majority of the population's personal information on file and do you really trust a big business not to be tempted to sell it off for big money, they are a business.
And then there's the surveillance issue. We are the most watched nation in Europe with one camera for every 14 people but still we have one of the highest crime rates. Something's not right there! Soon we will be scanned while walking into shops by scanners hidden in doorways which read electronic tags embedded in your clothes and personalized adverts will appear for related items, yes that sounds like the technology in Minority Report but in under a decade in could be real life. With technology like this, everything we do could, one day, been tracked and recorded, from the items we buy to where we've been. The scary thing is this is happening now and no one seems worried about it. This is because of the fact that due to advances in technology cameras and scanners are so small and discreet, they can be hidden so people are unaware of the intrusion on their privacy.
The only way to stop this is for the nation to put their collective foot down and tell Parliament where we want the line to be drawn but the government uses our recent fears of terrorism to make it look like all this is for our own good, that all this extra surveillance is making the streets and country safer but the fear of crime is definitely at its peak. Most of my friends here in Nottingham won't walk the streets alone at night, afraid of being mugged or beaten up, even though there's a camera on every street, but what good is a camera, they can't stop the criminal or protect you, and where are they people who are meant to protect and serve, the local bobby on the beat? Probably either trying sort out a family tiff or filling in paper work on a fight outside the local pub from a few friday's back.
We really don't live in the best society and it needs sorting out but I really have no idea who is up to mammoth task.
Sorry, that turned into a bit of a rambled rant. If you want to read some more coherent and concise account of all this, go here, here, here or here

Thought i'd add a few tunes to remind you that someone's always watching:
Bullet Union - Close Circuit
The Beatles - I Saw Her Standing There
Mull Historical Society - Watching Xanadu
and a special bonus track
Plans & Apologies - Tony Blair:Fucknut

I'll leave you with the last line of my A-level essay,
'The frightening part is, we taking steps closer to a world created to warn us about getting there in the first place and we are just ignoring it'


At 9:50 PM , Blogger Jimmy said...

You have brought warmth to my heart.

At 4:03 AM , Blogger Tim said...

i thought you'd enjoy that


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