Thursday, 2 November 2006

Paranoid in times like this

Sometimes being paranoid is the best form of defence.

We have 4.2 million CCTV cameras watching us in the UK; that means there is one for every 14 of us. That is the highest per capita number in the world.

We have a DNA database that covers 5% of the population. It is not drawn from criminal records but from anybody whose record has ever been part of an investigation, including a large number of children. That constitutes the largest database in the world, the next largest is Austria with 1% of their population.

The Daily Mail response is that if you're not breaking the law you have nothing to fear. But history shows that even in democracies laws can quickly change and the innocent become criminalised.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, journeyman, all-round renaissance man and founding father of the United States in the days before that nation lost the plot:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety".

Right now I think the best advice is to stay informed and watch your back.

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