Guess the answer before reading on.
What's the most surveilled country in the world?
Now that I've moved to the UK, many people ask me if I did it to escape US politics. They often don't seem to care that the UK is the most heavily surveilled country in the world. We already have 1 CCTV (closed circuit television) camera for every 14 people. A day in London results in you being photographed hundreds of times. In London, there's an "Oyster" card which lets you travel on public transportation at a lower cost than paying for individual trips. The police gather that data. It's also illegal not to register to vote, so there's now a complete history of everywhere you've ever lived. And there's plenty more. If you think it's not a problem, read the original report which found that Britian was the most watched country (PDF).
Or you could just read the news and find out for yourself.
- Roadside fingerprinting of drivers now happening.
- Police are thinking about using microphones on CCTV cameras to eavesdrop. They won't just be watching, they'll be listening.
- In a horrifying move, some London boroughs are using databases to guess which innocent people might commit crimes.
- Tony Blair, a supporter of the surveillance society, recently channeled George Orwell and said "I don't destroy civil liberties, I protect them".
- But what's worse, one study suggests that three out of four Brits are happy about all of this.
Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There's more. Much more. But so many Brits have told me they don't mind. "After all," they say, "you just get used to the cameras."