“To be governed is to be kept in sight, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue to do so.”
I’m not one to complain about the supposed “CCTV” society. I refuse to submit to the exaggerated cries of “ORWELL WAS RIGHT!!” when he wrote “1984“. I think that although many people will complain that the 1.4million surveillance cameras on our streets, take away a part of the foundation of our liberal democracy, namely our rights as free entities; those cameras do a job in catching criminals in the act. Killer, Michael Lynch is now serving a life sentence, after CCTV caught the moment he fatally stabbed Darren Pollen in 2005. CCTV does a good job. My problem however, lies with the faceless bureaucrats who watch our every move, without revealing their intentions or who they are to a nation under their constant surveillance. They are, in essence, playing a God-like role, even though they are no different to us. They are the people who’s speed cameras aren’t placed around school areas, but instead exist on dark, lifeless country lanes, at the bottom of a hill, where people are most likely to be caught. Although they may be playing the role of social God, that isn’t their objective. The objective, is purely to make money.
We felt the full force of CCTV Britain today.
My dad was caught stationary in a yellow box (you aren’t allowed to stop in a yellow box, because it obstructs traffic coming in the other direction) for 14 seconds, whilst in London a few months back. We were in the yellow box, because the guy in the lane next to us at the traffic lights shot ahead of us, swerved into our lane, and blocked us in. Completely not our fault in the slightest. I was sat in the car at the time. I remember it happening, because my dad beeped the horn… he never beeps the horn unless someone has been REALLY shitty.
Transport for London, charged us a £60 after we were caught on their CCTV system.
So my dad appealed.
We got a letter back saying “I have reviewed the tape, and …blah blah blah” …. full of “I have …. I have….. So I conclude…” etc, long story short – we’re still charged £60 if we pay it in 14 days (Unless we take to it an independent reviewer, in which case, it becomes £120).
Firstly, why has someone working for Transport For London, the company charging us in the first place, been given the task of judge in this matter? It’s like me killing someone, and then being my own judge at my trial. It makes no sense.
So my dad called up TFL, and got a call centre. My dad asked to speak to this “I” person. The person who watched the tape. The faceless bureaucrat who charges £120 if you take the matter to an independent reviewer. The faceless bureaucrat who charges £10 if you want to see the tape. The call centre said…….. “They just write the letters, they don’t talk on the phone“. Which is reassuring to know. It sounds almost like “They live in the shadows, watching your every move….. you can’t find them……. they’ll find you“, but given that we’re not in an Orwellian novel, actually translates as….. “There is no “I” , it’s an automated computer system“. They told my dad that he could not speak to a supervisor.
My dad complained that he’s being almost made to accept that someone who wants his money, somewhere has sat in a dark room and watched a video of him in a box, then wrote a letter with no name on it, who is then going to take his money even though we have literally no evidence of anyone watching the video, especially given that the conclusion is the wrong one on their part. The man then said “I’m going to terminate this call now”.
End of call.
My dad then rang London Travel Watch, an advisory body that deal with this sort of thing. They said they don’t have a number for the people who write the letters either. So, London Travel Watch, cannot do anything when it comes to watching Travel… in London. Marvellous.
I can’t believe it’s got to the stage where this can happen, and is widely accepted as all right. And where CCTV can help provide evidence for thousands of crimes that would otherwise go unpunished, it can also act as a money making machine with very little accountability from the people actually taking your money. This extends to councils across the United Kingdom, such as Dorset Council, who admitted using CCTV to spy on a family, to make sure they were who they said they were. The council envoked the powers of RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) which is a counter Terrorism act, to spy on the family using covert surveillance techniques. The Council envoked the powers of RIPA against this particular family, who were innocent of all potential wrongdoing. The Council did not inform the innocent family that they’d been spied on for the past few weeks.
It appears that the abuses of CCTV by Councils and the hidden faceless bureaucrats across the UK is getting worse and worse every year. It does not need to be like that. We do not need to give up certain liberties and freedoms in place of added security and protection. The two, if used and regulated properly can work together. Something that our young CCTV world, is considerably unaware of.