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Britain is 'surveillance society'

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libertarianconn...
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Nov 2 2006 12:24
Britain is 'surveillance society'

admin edit: dont copy and paste - link and abstract.

Quote:
Fears that the UK would "sleep-walk into a surveillance society" have become a reality, the government's information commissioner has said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk/6108496.stm

2existis2resist
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Nov 3 2006 15:14

Its a classic totalitarian tactic, increase surveillance slowly under the guise of anti-terrorism whilst churning out the rhetoric until people realise its too late to turn the clocks back and are completely dominated by Big Brother.

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little_brother
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Nov 3 2006 15:58

Friday afternoon rant.

The bleating of these 'independent' watchdogs
(http://www.ico.gov.uk/ - whose by line is "the UK's independent authority set up to PROMOTE access to official information and to protect personal information" ) make me sick with all their talk of needing 'balance'. These organisations just give the illusion of debate amongst the authorities, and make you think there is some accountability when there really isn't any. So we even hear the police on a news report saying there 'might be too many CCTV cameras in society' - whilst at the same time they are creating a national digital camera network for motor vehicles, supporting ID cards, wanting to get us all on DNA database etc etc. Again we hear supposedly reasonable comments when the reality is waves of repressive laws and surveillance system that are coming in fully supported, and many initiated, by the police. These regulators should be exposed continually for their role in the lie that state powers and the market economy can be made controlled in some way e.g. EnergyWatch and Ofwat who supposedly prevent the excesses of the gas and water companies - as if. Gas companies (and shareholders) have been minting it recently, and the next massive price hike will be water.

From what I can see the main thing the state is
concerned about is losing 'public trust' (votes), so they will now be hard at work creating some spin to convince us
they are listening to these concerns and that not
really something we should worry about! This whilst they carry on building those 69 passport and ID interrogation centres - which already have addresses (http://www.no2id.net/getInvolved/idCentres.php) and whose jobs have already been advertised in the press.

Hope you will come to the Defy-ID gathering in 3 weeks time,
http://www.nottingham-defy-id.org.uk/gathering

Direct Action ... grrrrrr.

Fuego Revolucinario
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Nov 3 2006 17:28

guydeborgisdead

Quote:
I mean if the state want to watch you they're going to do it anyway, this way they're just watching everyone overtly. Does it create a more obedient society or are cctv cameras just something for paranoid lifestylists to waste their time worrying about?

These measures were being taken by the State I grew up in -aka one of the Eastern European USSR satellite colonies. They may not have been as technologically advanced as today's surveilance, but concern over surveilance shouldn't be simply written off to paranoid lifestylists - in my own experience it does subdue the population into the mode of fear and survival mode of withdrawal. One step at a time and we will accept ridiculous punishments for what the State perceives as crime against it. Each and every state has been doing this, but when this is done overtly, it signalises one thing - people have been brought to accept that they are treated as criminals and suspects without committing an offence and that they hand over their freedom to the State who pretends to do this as protection. After we accept that the State can get away with watching our every move, to employ people to report on us, the state will bring upon them manufactured sentences at the slightest sign of dissent. Within a block of flats where I lived, there was a flat directly owned by our version of KGB and one of my classmates parents worked for them. A grown up teachers breathing in fear in case they'd say something in front of that child who would tell on them to his parents and their life could go to the shitter and their loved ones left to fend for themselves with no support and dicriminative political backround record.

I agree pretty much with what you said, little_brother. I will try to look for something close to my area.

Edit: Don't wanna double-post and the other comment was added while I posted this.
I'm not sure how one could feel safer with CCTV's - they will not deter mindless criminal trying to rob you or whatever else, and the calculating criminal will simply get you where they are not. Maybe in such a case, one may feel safer with microchip inserted into one's own body. Well, actually this is paranoia.

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Sam
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Nov 3 2006 18:39

The CCTV used to be terrible at my old secondary school, they had CCTV in the toilets! I do not have a clue how that can be legal. College is pretty bad too, i was only informed by one of my teachers that there are 2 well hidden CCTV in the area of main congregation for students (Known as the airport lounge), I have tried to avoid this area, there are cameras everywhere in college, and these fascist bastards who keep hounding me for my college ID card (Which like the national ID card, i am against on principle so I never wear it) We really are "Sleep waking" into a surveilence society, people really don't know how much they're being spied on, when i think about college, there are cameras in the airport lounge, in the library (Which i am a regular at) and outside, there are cameras on the buses i get, and who knows where else. Its scary, very 1984 like.

Caiman del Barrio
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Nov 3 2006 20:34
Jack wrote:
guydebordisdead wrote:
I mean if the state want to watch you they're going to do it anyway, this way they're just watching everyone overtly. Does it create a more obedient society or are cctv cameras just something for paranoid lifestylists to waste their time worrying about?

A couple years back, Alan was working midnight-8am (roughly) in a shop on Colchester high street. Right next to the biggest club, and club most popular with the local squaddies.

Whilst visiting a squatted social centre, he made an off handed comment along the lines of "They got CCTV in now, which makes me feel safer".

Perhaps predictably, the shitstorm that ensued from the lifestylists knew no bounds. Especially as it wasn't just a wrong position to hold, it was the most disgusting awful betrayal of anarchism anyone could ever make. roll eyes

Fuck, I hate 'personal liberty' lifestylists so much.

Much as I was right then and you're right now, to deny that CCTV isn't grossly overused would be absurd. Britain's something of a world leader in this. Apparently there's a CCTV camera for every 14 people in this country. Bear in mind the vast majority of CCTV cameras exist to protect property and not people, and one might almost sense a class line developing here... wink

That said, at any one time, only 20% of speed cameras actually have any film in them. I wonder what the equivalent statistic is for regular CCTV.

Blacknred Ned
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Nov 4 2006 09:40
Quote:
Jack Wrote:
Fuck, I hate 'personal liberty' lifestylists so much.

Well my liberty is important to me Jack; I want to live in a world without cctv. Does that make me a 'lifestylist'? I think this sniping at so-called 'lifestylists' is a crock of shit; there were plenty of people in Spain before the revolution who experimented with life choices such as not smoking; vegetarianism; living with partners without marriage; education outside of schools, and there are examples from across the history of radicalism of people taking decisions of conscience that they can no longer bear some aspect of the status quo. These decisions do not create a 'lifestyle' movement as opposed to some truly revolutionary category; wtf are you arguing for? Swimming like a fish through the population? Well enjoy your fucking MacDonalds for lunch, but that's just another lifestyle choice and a slightly more irresponsible one than lentils!

lem
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Nov 4 2006 11:59

I am in two minds about this - I don't think that it could possibly be a step on the way to a super fascist state, but there is something a bit eery about it, imo

Wrt Alan and Jack - I often have a gross over-estimation of my street fighting abilities - so cctv cameras are no use to me. I mean, isn't hunting down the violent crack heads what its all about? Kind of makes your harsh punichment beatings redundant.

confused

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Rob Ray
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Nov 4 2006 12:01
Quote:
they had CCTV in the toilets

Yeah, At the Raise Your Banners in Norwich it was held at a school and I noticed CCTV in those loos as well. wonder how widespread/well-known it is...

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Rob Ray
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Nov 4 2006 12:19

The one I saw overlooked at least one of the cubicles, without actually standing on a chair and peering from the same height I wouldn't be able to say about the other two. First instance was in 99 apparently, with the assurance that they'd only look at the sinks and cubicle door.

si
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Nov 4 2006 12:28

complexities. Jack: do armed cops in the street (just in case of a terrorist attack) make you feel safer? Scanning machines onm the underground? These new technologies Reid was talking about - unmanned UAVs (presently deployed in Palestine, Afghanisatan, Iraq) capable of tracking individuals through crowds; 'microwave' scanners that can detect dense concealed objects; why not indefinite detention? How far do we let this logic go - the imposition of external coercive force to suppress the decomposition of society? Because make no mistake - what today is targetted against what you term 'anti-socials' will go to defend society against its future total dissolution and reconstitution - in part, that is, against us. We allow technology to mediate our struggle against societal decomposition (anti-social behavior) at our peril.

Quite apart from the fact that universal surveillance really does find its way into people's heads...

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Nov 4 2006 13:10
Jack wrote:
Just because I don't want CCTV cameras in my house or when I'm having a shit,

I'm sure there is a pay-per-view website for that sort of thing. I bet you could make good money at it too! It's not as if you haven't worked in that line of business before, is it? wink

Jack wrote:
doesn't mean I don't want them stopping speeding drivers or making people working shitty jobs feel safer.

Or making them work harder! From the BBC story: "Monitoring of work rates, travel and telecommunications is also rising." Also, on the offchance that we have a revolution in our lifetimes, the CCTV cameras would no doubt be of some use in putting a stop to it. Also also, with so many cameras out there there will need to be a large number of people to monitor them, and these people could easily use them for nefarious purposes (stalking women or children).

Fuego Revolucinario
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Nov 4 2006 18:03

Jack

Quote:
Sorry mate, but if you honestly think it's some logic that leads from a load of CCTV to locking people up arbitrarily (sp

You realise that such has already occured and was used against the dissent?

Quote:
I mean do you think we're drfiting towards fascism or some shit? Do you think the ruling class would want that? Do you think modern capitalism could operate properly under those conditions?

You realise that corporatism and the economic system it runs on is simply fascism with 'a human face'.

Fascism and capitalism are not separate systems. In fact much of capital is build on a fascist base. Up to today's varieties of imperialism. All major capitalist nations have fascist ties.

As for the question of the ruling class - don't be mistaken. Fascism requires and is built on the support of capitalist elites.

In fact, fascism is the unchecked rule of a class of the privileged, or relatively rich, in power. It is a full-scale assault on poor and working people. Parliamentary institutions are usually set aside, or so demeaned as to be meaningless. The Holocaust was after all, legal. And so are the torture camps of today made to be above the board. Elites issue direct orders, frequently through a populist leader. Any social safety net, working hour laws, labor laws; all come under legal (and extra-legal) attack. They are - especially in the US - non-existant and done away with. Violation of human rights, common. The stick replaces the carrot.

You may discard this as paranoia, but to academics of economic and political systems, it's a matter of fact. Of course if one wants to sleep at night and feel safe; it is one that can be easily ignored.

Caiman del Barrio
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Nov 4 2006 18:32
Jack wrote:
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
That said, at any one time, only 20% of speed cameras actually have any film in them. I wonder what the equivalent statistic is for regular CCTV.

I actually love speed cameras. If you don't want to get caught, then stop fucking trying to kill kids you fucking cunts.

I agree in principle with speed cameras obviously. I think your line on this lacks nuance and is somewhat deliberately provocative (who woulda thunk it eh? wink).

People need to think about why and in what way cameras are used. For example, Nemo's right that most cameras in shops are used to monitor staff rather than customers. I don't think a single threatening customer ever received any sort of recrimination as a result of the CCTV in the shop I worked in. Unwelcome customers were only ever banned due to being caught red-handed by staff with their naked eyes. However, I received several lectures from my boss about my productivity at 4am due to the footage of that shift. That was my point, which noone has picked up (somewhat bizarrely, and not everyone has GDD's excuse of temporarily lacking critical faculties).

That said, kicking up a fuss about "activists" being detained due to CCTV footage is kinda like pissing in the wind to be honest. I mean, what exactly do you expect? You could at least turn it round into some kinda macho pride at being considered dangerous enough to warrant state surveillance. wink

Fuego Revolucinario
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Nov 4 2006 19:00

Alan

Quote:
People need to think about why and in what way cameras are used.

People need to think about what system they are living under, and the inescapable truth that these camera ARE used to repress the populace - in ways that are clearly articulated, and in ways that are not. To imagine otherwise is to declare yourself a resident of wonderland. Constant monitoring of the population, regardless of what the stated 'beneficial' justification is, has an effect on people that is both readily apparent, and one that is more subtle and sinister.

Quote:
That said, kicking up a fuss about "activists" being detained due to CCTV footage is kinda like pissing in the wind to be honest. I mean, what exactly do you expect? You could at least turn it round into some kinda macho pride at being considered dangerous enough to warrant state surveillance.

Why should activists and revolutionaries aspire to be macho? A true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love/compassion (quoting Che there); not by seeking revolutionary glory. Seeking a status of a martyr of dissent is not the attitude of a serious political mind.

It is painfully obvious that a great many citizens will be discouraged from political activity for fear of repercussions in their private / public life if they know they are being filmed, and their identities put on watch lists - this is not paranoia - this is recognition of reality. Look at the massive databases now being kept on anyone even remotely politically active in the USA and UK.... Look at the surveillance teams assigned to political funtions - they catalog identities, they act as agent provacateurs, and they share and store that information for future use. To think that all these monitoring activities do not have a very direct and demonstrable effect on political dissent or that it doesn't matter if it does, is ridiculous.

The filming of activists has been a tool of repression ever since it first became possible - from earlier labor struggles, to the 'red squads' of the sixties and seventies, right up to the massive collection of groups (both civilian and military) that engage in the practice today - they know it is effective, and so it continues. It is the blackest of comedies that the only ones debating whether it is important, effective in supressing dissent, or even a real issue, are those being filmed.

Questionauthority
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Nov 4 2006 23:46

http://www.opentopia.com/hiddencam.php?seewhat=newest&country=UNITED+KIN...

si
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Nov 5 2006 10:20

it's all about the state of exception. The idea being that there are times when the the state is somehow justified in asserting extraordinary and illegal power in order to maintain the status quo - the content of its role supercedes the form.

This justification is rooted in the fact that the state is constructed in the first place on the basis of armed, illegal force - which then goes on to construct a legal infrastructure, but never really falls away.

The important element of which is: the strengthening of state surveillance techniques and the present stripping away of liberal freedoms (albeit for now primarily on the terrain of radical islamism) points somewhere very unpleasant indeed. Not, indeed, towards a classical fascism but I rather expect that we are moving towards a system which shares some features with it, but on a newly sophisticated technological basis.

This is the logic referred to: the imposition of the state itself into all relationships, as mediator and condition of the relationship. In so interposing itself it constructs and reconstructs the necessity for its continued mediation.

Of course these technologies are responses to certain social malaises harmful to the flow of capital - some of them even have some regard for public safety. The problem is that in suppressing that malaise by the interpolation of state power they preclude or at least retard the sublation of those conditions.

Against capitalist war - against capitalist peace?

Too tired/hung over to make a better job of this. Fuego has said much of what I wanted to anyway.

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Nov 5 2006 12:18

While I'm not paranoid that Blair is planning a fascist dictatorship or something, there is also the issue of privately owned CCTV cameras (in workplaces, shops, and shopping malls, etc.) and other privately collected data (credit and loyalty card details, etc.). Much of which is used to build up a profile of shopping habits, and bombard us with junk mail. But it could also be used by insurance companies, loan companies, potential employers, etc. to turn away risky customers/employees. (Imagine you need to take out health insurance for trip overseas, but the company has access to data which says that you regularly visit the pharmacist, and so won't insure you.)

A lot of this data also comes from the sate as well. The DVLA will sell details of who owns what car, and the government also sells individual census records (with names etc. removed, but it was revealed a few years ago that these can somehow be restored -- by cross referencing with another list I guess).

I think that even the mail and telephone preference services (who are supposed to stop junk mail and cold calling) sell your details on to companies who can then decide if they want to break the voluntary rules or not.

Some of this is just inconvenient. But if you're desperate for money and can't get a loan or a job (or access to healthcare if they end up fully privatising the NHS), it is more than a nuisance.

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Nov 5 2006 12:38

You did write above that "I'd still rather capitalist peace to capitalist war tho. And I'd rather capitalism where people had to put up with less anti-social behaviour than more."

And I'd rather live in a capitalist society which wasn't able to gather huge amounts of information about me (whether it is used for repressive policing, or to try and sell me stuff I don't need, or not sell me stuff I do need), than one that was.

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Nov 5 2006 12:42

Also, it looks like police may now have access to medical records:

The Guardian wrote:
Millions of personal medical records are to be uploaded regardless of patients' wishes to a central national database from where information can be made available to police and security services, the Guardian has learned.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1936404,00.html

I wonder how long it will be before people with mental health problems start getting harassed by the police.

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Tacks
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Nov 5 2006 12:48
si wrote:
interpolation

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sublation

eek

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Nov 5 2006 12:54
Jack wrote:
Well (to be somewhat devils advocate) wouldn't you rather that the advertising you got was tailored to what you might be interested in, rather than just endless piles of random shit you're never going to buy?

The trying to sell me stuff they think I want (but probably don't) bit was the least of my worries. It is just annoying. It's the not selling you something you need bit that I mind. I had my mum on the phone in tears a few weeks ago because she needed medical insurance for a holiday she had booked, and none of the numerous insurance companies she tried would touch her with a ten-foot barge pole. This was because of something she had to tell them, but equally well it could have been because of information obtained elsewhere.

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Nov 5 2006 13:15

It is not necessarily about what they store, it can also be about who has access to it. Fair enough that the NHS has access to medical records, but I wouldn't want the police to have access to my medical records, or for that matter the NHS to have access to my criminal record (not that I have one, but you know what I mean wink).

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Joseph Kay
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Nov 5 2006 13:37
Nemo wrote:
I wonder how long it will be before people with mental health problems start getting harassed by the police.

i think you can already be pre-emptively and indefinitely detained on mental health grounds if you're deemed a threat ...

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Nemo
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Nov 5 2006 13:46
Jack wrote:
Well (again, being devils advocate) what if person x was an ex child sex offender or serial rapist? Wouldn't you want the NHS to know so they weren't put in a ward near kids or women?

I wondered how long it would be before you mentioned paedos. wink But anyway, it is one thing to flag someone up as being dangerous, and another to routinely share information that doesn't need to be shared.

To use paedos in an example again, say a child goes missing and the police search through the medical records of people living in the area, and find someone with mental health problems living not far away, and decided to go off and harass that person. (A bit like stopping a flash car being driven by a black man.) While they are causing this person all sorts of additional problems, in the mean time the real kiddy fiddler (if there is one) is on the loose.

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Nov 5 2006 13:48
Joseph K. wrote:
i think you can already be pre-emptively and indefinitely detained on mental health grounds if you're deemed a threat ...

Sure. That's not quite what I meant though. I mean people who aren't a threat might get harassed for being a bit weird. See the example in my previous post.

john
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Nov 5 2006 15:38
Jack wrote:
[CCTV is] just something that lifestylists have decided is bad (like nanotech) and so have to see it as a great evil and justify it like this. I just don't see it as an issue for communists to particularly care about - leave that to the Liberty types.

1) As far as I can tell the main way in which you distinguish between "lifestylists" and "class strugglists" is that the class-ists advocate coordinated and cooperated resistance by dominated classes (working class) rather than on an individual basis.

2) State monitoring and disruption is a serious hindrance to collective working class organization and action - e.g. trade union legislation that outlaws wildcat/unofficial strikes.

3) Therefore CCTVs, as a more efficient and effective instrument of state monitoring, are a class struggle/communist issue.

Fuego Revolucinario
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Nov 5 2006 16:47

Jack

Quote:
I can think of plenty of occassions I'd prefer the state to have good records on me - for example, I wouldn't want the NHS not to store medical info about me that could save my life, out of misguided drive to privacy!

There's a difference betweeen your doctor having your records and having those records open to others for purposes other than your own health concerns.

What is in question here is how and for what means State uses data it collects on its citizens, not medical records themselves.

and as si mentioned

Quote:
This is the logic referred to: the imposition of the state itself into all relationships, as mediator and condition of the relationship. In so interposing itself it constructs and reconstructs the necessity for its continued mediatio

That's where the crux of the matter lies and one you seem to miss the importance of.

Quote:
Well (again, being devils advocate) what if person x was an ex child sex offender or serial rapist? Wouldn't you want the NHS to know so they weren't put in a ward near kids or women?

I've never been in a hospital where men, women and children were in the same ward. And it's pretty rare case for non-relatives of children to be admitted to those without parental consent, just as schools won't permit anybody who the child is not related to or has parental consent to take the child out of school.

Quote:
I may be misreading you because you're trying to make yourself sound smart by using long words, but are you trying to claim that it's a bad thing for anti-social behaviour to be dealt with because it holds back the impulses that lead people to do such shit? I hope that's what you're saying, 'cause that's a pretty good auto-critique.

What he/she said is clear. What is not clear to me, is how you manage to think that the way anti-social behaviour is being dealt with by the bourgeois state as positive especially where its uses are more than 'public safety'.

I've seen people use this 'using big words to try to sound smart' line before - it always strikes me that it is primarily used in an effort to avoid the points that were made and the new understanding they would offer.

Quote:
Now, I might have missed it, but as far as I can tell while the ID cards might be a bit shit, the majority (or if noy majority, close to one) of EU countries that have ID cards don't really seem much closer to total state control than we are here.

The new ID cards that are advocated though - are not just an information as to your name and details as such - but your unique biological data. Again, if you are fine with guilty till proven innocent, advocate that. To myself, the innocent till proven guilty makes more sense.

Quote:
Again, just utter madness. CCTV cameras are "extraordinary and illegal power"? They're nothing of the sort, and tbh I do doubt that whenever you see a camera, you froth at the mouth in rage at the destruction of your freedom. It's just something that lifestylists have decided is bad (like nanotech) and so have to see it as a great evil and justify it like this. I just don't see it as an issue for communists to particularly care about - leave that to the Liberty types.

Statements like this: "It's just something that lifestylists have decided is bad" are a complete sham, and either intellectually dishonest, or painfully ignorant. If you're unaware of the reasons people oppose these issues/technologies, then you have either failed to look, or failed to understand.

Your lack of intellectual curiosity though, cannot be conflated into a failure of reasoning in your opposition.

Quote:
I just don't see it as an issue for communists to particularly care about

Maybe because a communist should care how a bourgeoise state and the global empires of capitalism work? It appears to me that a lifestylist wouldn't give two shits about what is going on and refrain from analysing the political and economical and social system in depth.

If you're for so called capitalist peace, then there is no such thing. Capitalism by its nature is exploitative. Its drive for resources from which to accumulate profit means wars - if not on your doorsteps, in some other part of the world. If not military war, an economical war - no less lethal with its effects on the lower classes. Again, an indepth study of history, its political, economical and social connotations will indeed prove that ignorance is not bliss.

Corporations exist for only one purpose - to make a profit. Capitalist governents exist to protect the pursuit of these profits - not the population at large. These purposes inform and control every step of the process. Laying down strict guidelines for safety / protection of civil liberties does not ensure that they will be followed - the free market will always negatively influence the actual implementation and integrity of these guidelines. Safety is safety, science is science, corporations are corporations and governments are governments - in a contest between the driving forces of each, science and safety and public good will always take a back seat to profit. The problem is though, the world is a place where context matters, and you cannot separate the technology of surveilance from the context of the system under which it is to be persued, the class that is promoting it, or from the negative applications/possibilities of the technology

You seem to be convinced that when the state declares that a technology will be used for A, it will not be used for B - or perhaps that B doesn't matter. You like the idea of speed cameras - presumably to make the roads safer - and are perfectly willing to accept massive surveillance to accomplish this. Nevermind that these cameras (which can easily be defeated) can be, and are, used to prevent/suppress anything else that it considers 'crimes' (that appart from the 'evidence of crime' the state can also go after activists for any number of trumped up 'violations' peripheral to their actions). If the alleged primary purpose of these cameras is to reduce speeding - why not accomplish this in other ways? I'm no automotive expert, but it seems to me that things like speed bumps, thoughtfully constructed roadways, capping the maximum speeds autos are capable of, etc can be just as effective for this purpose.

Throughout history when repressive regimes want to better control the populace, they do so under the cloak of 'protecting the people'. Quite obviously, they never declare 'we are instituting these new measures in order to better repress you ignorant bastards'. By accepting draconian measures and technologies, even for seemingly benign purposes, we accept more and more government control over our lives.

Quote:
That must be horrible. If I was filled with such constant fear and anxiety, I'd find sleeping pretty hard. However, I prefer to keep an open mind, and actually look along to systems under which modern capital could actually function. Which isn't techno-fascism.

If you leave the psycho-babble away, you'd realise that he/she (when one is unsure of the posters gender, one should always include both) was simply stating a matter of fact based on analyses. The fact that modern world is sharing certain aspects with fascism may scare you, but don't project it onto other people. Communists and anarchists were the primary political targets of classical fascism majorely because they were able to face it. Your assessment that modern capital cannot function under such conditions is only possible if it's recognised and massess arise. The massess however are not as revolutionary as to prevent such as yet. Indeed your assessment of capital and its modus operandi were hardly accurate to take your assertion seriously.

Fuego Revolucinario
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Nov 5 2006 23:07
Quote:
Well, to be honest, if you honestly think the reason CCTV has expanded so massivly is due to some plot to impose the state onto all our relationships, then I think you're pretty barking. They're there on an individual level, for individual reasons. Usually, it's to protect property and the accumilation of capital. Sometimes, it isn't.

You seem to think that protection of capital is somewhat compartmentalized or as if the form of capitalism there is - is that of laissez faire. Keep on dreaming. You also seem to perfectly ignore that surveilance is used against dissent regardless of its stated purpose.

Quote:
I didn't say they'd be in the same ward (altho I've been in hospital plenty of times with men and women together), I said a ward near. Or are you going to claim that NHS hospitals segregate men and women to opposite parts of the hospital?

Quote:
Children in hospitals aren't kept in cages, you know. It's hardly impossible to get access.

The point you missed here, is that the State doesn't need to babysit the community. Neither there are boogey man and paedos everywhere to justify the paranoid surveilance.

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I'm not saying they're good. I'm saying they aren't anything unusual in a liberal capitalist democracy, and are no means a road to totalitarianism. Whether they have biometric data makes no qualitative difference to this.

Within liberal capitalist 'democracy' the criminals biological data are required legally. There is no democratic consent of its citizens to hand over their biological data before they commit a crime. Not only you miss the fact how this all out record of biological data will play in the class war and on dissent...you keep defending the means of the state as if it were something benefitial to anybody but to the propertied classes.

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Oh I've got no problem with people using big words. Fuck, most of the posters on here I like do it frequently. However, the point is to use them when they add to an argument, or explain an otherwise difficult to expound concept. They aren't there to cover up a lack of having anything to say.

And who are you to say that what they say is lacking of content? I have not found his/hers post lacking of such and dare I say it, is this not a public forum? Just because you don't get the gist or disagree, doesn't mean valuable ideas weren't being expressed.

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And your anti-technology hysteria can't be conflated into a good argument.

I'm as far from being anti-technology as I am from the Pleiades.

Why is this so difficult for you? You repeatedly avoid the issues people are taking with this subject, and instead address your own invented subtext. Am I against using a hammer? No, but I would not recommend it for use by a two year old child, or hand it to a person who is set to do me harm, or use it for a job that requires a screwdriver. This is not anti-technology, this is anti-stupidity.

If you fail to understand what I am saying then I really can't help you.

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Yes, they should. What they shouldn't do is partake in hysterical campaigns against new technologies as a whole rather than how they're used.

Again, you're completely missing the point that people have raised here. Nobody ever said let's smash the technology.

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Of course capitalism is inherently exploitative. That's not in dispute. However, it's a matter of simple logic that it's better to live under capitalism not at war, than capitalism when at war. I mean, you wouldn't denounce all anti-militarist activity on the grounds that "even if you win, we'd still have capitalism", would you?

Well, you got the 'simple' part right, at least. Understand that capitalism is a war for resources to accumulate profits. America's economy itself stands on military spending/aquisition, in other words it feeds on war. UK's loss of its empire, means it has to keep up as it's sidekick in its imperial pursuits. This is the nature of a capitalist economy/imperialism - it must consume. There is no possibility for capitalism to exist without war, be it cold, warm, or hot. I'm not its proponent, its advocate or one who pardons it or who justifies it or defends it. There will always be a war somewhere as long as capitalism is the system we got operating. If you recognise it's better to live at peace then at war, then your goals will be to achieve a system that doesn't by its nature breed it. And such is not capitalism. Even if it is reformed. A criticism of capitalism is simply - a criticism. Would I support its reform? I would. But it's not the end of the road for me.

I'm not sure how it reads to you that I'd be against anti-war movements. If I see a fire, I will put it out. However I shall not ignore the facts that cause the fire to exist and realise that as long as those conditions persist, so will the fires untill I will have dealt with the root of the problem and not its symptom.

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Totally wrong, and to be honest, quite offensive.

I suppose it doesn't matter to people in Iraq whether we bomb them or not, given that the economic war being waged against them before the bombing was "no less lethal"?

The economic war on other nations and the economic class war on lower classes everywhere in capitalist nations is destructive and lethal. Yes, there is an obvious difference between that and direct military aggression, but at the end of the day, both cost casualties. Is one better than the other? I don't think so - the casualties mount up with both methods, but one is at least recognized in the light of day as quantifiable aggression, while the other is seen widely as 'business'. This 'business' is neither recognized as aggression, nor are it's victims counted as such.

Is it still a paranoid campaign to you when people raise concern how the propertied class wages its war on the lower class to prevent it from arising and from stopping imperialism?

On the subject of Iraq, I don't know about your suppositions - but why don't you ask them if they prefer a conflict in which they can actively defend themselves, or the economic sanctions that killed a half a million children in the decade or so prior to the latest western occupation. Were they ever given a choice? I imagine it would be we'll take neither, thanks.

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By the same logic, you can't separate the technology of medicine from the context of the system under which is is to be pursued. However, you're not going to say you're against hospitals or health care, are you? (oh and any arguments about how the pharmacutical industry is for profit, not for need etc. etc. are non-starters here, since you're still not going to campaign against medical drugs as a whole).

I'm for a socialist system of such.

Of course the way pharma operates is to create profit - my saying that doesn't mean I am against medicines - I'm all for them - under the socialist mode of their production and distribution.

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Apart from yet more liberties with the truth about what I said, this is quite simply ridiculous. So what, we should put speed bumps on dual carriage ways, wait 10 years for every car to have a capped speed limit or 50 years for the whole road system to be rebuilt? Fucking bollocks - if speed cameras are catching anti-social cunts who speed and saving lives, then I support them. I put my liberty to not be killed by a selfish speeding driver ahead of his liberty to speed, to be honest.

If something doesn't work, you will continue using it just because correcting the fault will take too much time?

Not to mention that you are looking at anti-social behaviour as something that exists in a vacuum - instead of looking at the root of the problem that is causing it. Curing the anti-social behavior that capitalism encourages with more tools for capitalist repression is hardly a solution.

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No shit. So?

So it's stupid to act as shit doesn't matter! And be evangelical about the governmental line on this.

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Sorry, I totally don't get what you're saying here. I'm saying that the free flow of information and knowledge that modern capital requires couldn't properly function under a totalitarian regime. Nothing at all to do with how people may or may not resist.

That's ridiculous - I don't think you really understand the dynamics at work. Perhaps you bought Tony Blairs crap that the class struggle is over because there's just one class now. The free flow of information and knowlege you talk about is again limited by class. It's already far from 'free flowing' now, and it does and can exist via totalitarian means. I hate to break it to you, but totalitarian systems works differently for those who oppress and those whom they oppress. Ask China.

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There is 0% chance in the world you could ever get CCTV abolished. It's just not an issue you could win.

Again, I'm not fighting against technology here - I'm calling attention to the very real misuse of it under this system.

What I'm for is abolition of property and class as such, and for a system in which which the ownership of such technology will not be for the elite classess and its repressive branches.

Indeed it may not be a change I'll see within my lifetime, but I'd be a lifestylist to advocate, defend and justify bourgeoisie, its methods and its property, all the while calling myself a class conscious anarchist with anarcho-communism as that which I believe in.

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Nov 6 2006 01:28
Fuego Revolucinario wrote:
Alan

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People need to think about why and in what way cameras are used.

People need to think about what system they are living under, and the inescapable truth that these camera ARE used to repress the populace - in ways that are clearly articulated, and in ways that are not. To imagine otherwise is to declare yourself a resident of wonderland. Constant monitoring of the population, regardless of what the stated 'beneficial' justification is, has an effect on people that is both readily apparent, and one that is more subtle and sinister.

Hiya Fuego Revolucionario (ooh, I get it...very wrathful wink). Did you read the rest of my post? If so, you aren't responding to the points I attempted to make. No matter, noone is. Is my "line" too

(i) nuanced
(ii) obvious
(iii) all of the above

to warrant actual scrutiny? I'm confused.

Anyway, since we're here, what proportion of CCTV do you reckon is owned by the state as opposed to private companies? I won't deny that the two share footage to a certain extent (for instance, every square foot of Colchester town centre is monitored by a complex, centralised CCTV system that's watched 24 hours a day by a security company who report everything - and I mean everything - to the police), but I do dispute that it is to the lengths that your post suggests. Indeed, your position indicates an underlying assumption that the bourgeoisie/state/system is fighting open class war, as opposed to simply doing whatever it can to maximise profit (that is to say, whatever it can to prevent profit being reduced). CCTV (in general terms - point to exceptions if you will but it will prove little) is merely a means of protecting property and, yes, profit.

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That said, kicking up a fuss about "activists" being detained due to CCTV footage is kinda like pissing in the wind to be honest. I mean, what exactly do you expect? You could at least turn it round into some kinda macho pride at being considered dangerous enough to warrant state surveillance.

Why should activists and revolutionaries aspire to be macho? A true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love/compassion (quoting Che there); not by seeking revolutionary glory. Seeking a status of a martyr of dissent is not the attitude of a serious political mind.

Maybe why I winked, like this: wink More of a snide quip than a serious point, aimed at activists who do dangerous, overtly criminal shit and then slap their cheeks in disbelief at the state busting them. It kinda comes with the territory y'know? If you haven't prepared yourself materially (and mentally) for the recriminations, then perhaps you shouldn't be involved in that kinda activity. Of course, the rules are liable to change in times of high class struggle. wink

Fuego Revolucinario
Offline
Joined: 1-11-06
Nov 6 2006 08:25

This one is reply to Alan, don't have time for much of Jack's right now

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Indeed, your position indicates an underlying assumption that the bourgeoisie/state/system is fighting open class war

The difference being what? Capitalism is class war, by definition. The system is itself an ongoing war - the war is waged every day in every fiber of the system. For a capitalist society to exist at all it requires a large and compliant 'bottom' - How does a state wage 'open' class war? It is the existance of the bourgeoise state itself that is the war - how could it be any more 'open'?

If a capitalist government did away with the lower class, it would be doing away with those off whom it lives but at the same time lower class is it's potential executioner. It cannot wage 'open war' in the sense I'm guessing you mean. Repressing and discouraging dissent in a myriad of ways, though, and continuing to strengthen and expand the infrastructure of control though, is required and ongoing with the economic slavery they subject lower class into.

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is merely a means of protecting property

That's a very big "merely". 'Protecting property' is the entirety of the justification/rationale behind every single egregious behavior inherent to the capitalist society - Are you saying that 'protecting property' is some sort of benign rationalization? If so - why on earth do you consider yourself a leftist? If you aren't against that, I can't imagine what you are for.

Regardless of whether or not cameras are owned by the state, the existance of the footage and the ability of the authorities to obtain that footage on demand is the problem. Regardless of whether or not the stated purpose is considered 'good' by some people, the use of the tech is a problem now, and will be a much more significant one should any group actually present a real threat to the stability of the system. Snidely dismissing these concerns and those that express them is silly, and needlessly divisive and insulting. You use the 'lifestylist' term far too, if you'll pardon the term, liberally.

The question posed by the thread was 'Is Britain becoming a surveilance society?' - not 'Is Britain becoming a surveilance society - and are there any issues of greater importance that left wing activists should be more concered with, to the exclusion of this one'?

I thought it was blazingly obvious that there are more immediate problems to concern ourselves with - but this isn't a thread about those, this is a thread about surveilance in the UK. Regardless of one's priorities though, I hardly think the answer to the question posed by this thread is 'Well, maybe - but who cares?'

Well, that's bollocks as John said - as working class organises itself the issue of it being monitored, spied on and infiltrated by the state is an issue that communist and an activist should be concerned about - as well as the insidious longer term issues that si articulated so well.