Thursday, 11 October 2012

Surveillance Blog week 1

Banksy, London.

Big Brother is watching you. You are being watched. George Orwell's depiction of a totalitarian world in Nineteen-Eighty-Four was way ahead of his time… and he got it spot on! In today’s society there is a constant threat of CCTV security cameras invading our personal space and freedom. We have all seen and read the relentless signs “CAUTION: C.C.T.V In Operation.” In Brent Cross, my local shopping centre, I have read signs stating, “SMILE: You’re on camera!” which makes people aware that they are being surveyed and scrutinized. It seems as if the government is trying to make a joke about it, to make it seem light hearted in a way. Yet there is nothing light hearted about the fact that we, the people, are being constantly watched and surveyed by Big Brother, the government. Somewhere, right now, you are being watched by cameras, spies.  Who knows where its stops…an artificial/ alien intelligence perhaps? Who knows?!

So why are we accepting this oppressed way of life? We have no freedom, no private space and each individual’s personal rights are being compromised. Well the government would say that CCTV cameras are in place for our own security and safety. To deter criminals by making them feel as if they are being watched. If a crime is committed then the CCTV cameras can be used as evidence in a court of law. I had Jury Service this whole summer, and in my cases I was shocked to realize how little CCTV cameras actually helped in convicting criminals. The CCTV footage from the security cameras was absolutely useless! Most cameras were not switched on, many were faulty and did not work while others where pointing in the completely wrong direction and in strange angles. I therefore came to the conclusion that CCTV cameras are ineffective. They do not deter criminals, it is extremely hard to prosecute criminals with the lack of CCTV evidence and they do not make me feel safer as a women walking along the street in the daytime, let alone walking home alone at night! It was interesting to discuss in the seminar that more women feel safer with the presence of CCTV cameras than man, showing how space is gendered. Men feel as though they lack control and become emasculated as the power of scrutiny shifts and the men no longer have control of the power of looking.

I have read 1984 for my English A Level and have found some interesting quotes that follow on from my entry:
“War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength”
- Official slogan of the Party. 

“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy.”

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two and two make four. If this is granted, all else follows.”

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