I Just came across this document on the Data Protection Commissioners website. Its a projected vision of public surveillance in the near future, a dsytopian one as far as individual privacy is concerned. Thought provoking and worth a read.
A Report on the Surveillance SocietyFor the Information Commissioner, by the Surveillance Studies Network
Public Discussion Document September 2006
The essence of the paper is that we are ‘sleepwalking into a surveillance society’
The surveillance society has come about almost without us realising..
It is the sum total of many different technological changes, many policy decisions, and many social developments. Some of it is essential for providing the services we need: health, benefits, education. Some of it is more questionable. Some of it may be unjustified, intrusive and oppressive. People may have many different opinions. But in fact most people know very little about the surveillance society: it is seen as the stuff of science fiction, not everyday life. So there has been very little public debate about surveillance. The surveillance industry is already massive and (especially since 9/11) is growing much faster than other industries : the global industry is estimated to be worth almost $1 trillion US dollars, covering a massive range of goods and services from military equipment through high street CCTV to smart cards. The surveillance society has come about often slowly, subtly and imperceptibly and by the unforeseen combination of many small paths into one bigger road. It is a road whose direction we urgently need to discuss and debate. Read on