Surveillance – a way of life?

Can you remember life before CCTV, before ANPR cameras? Have either of these marvellous things improved the quality of our living?

In the TV programme “Hunted” some fugitives are set the task of evading the mocked-up state and it starts saying how we, in the UK, live in one of the most surveillance-oriented countries in the world. The protagonists are hunted down by a crack team of experts who get a little rabid at the prospect of a “kill”. They make use of all the data they can lay their hands on, which is a lot, to try to catch the would-be evaders. This is our entertainment. Members of the public even dob the runners in to the hunters.

Is this not already a little dystopian? How far are we from “The Hunger Games”?

Like many things it seems harmless, but underneath there is an underbelly that isn’t so nice. Which side are you on, that of the pack of hounds or the fleeing foxes? It touches something in us. The wife reckons that I should apply and go on the run. If it were summer I could piss of for four weeks, with sufficient preparation and remain incommunicado. The trouble is that what I might do would not be good entertainment. If I holed up in a B&B with a cover story and simply meditated and wrote, off-line, that would not give the programme makers much frisson.

This whole notion of surveillance pervades our mentality. It is the stuff of countless films and we have accepted it. Surveillance is a new way of life.

Maybe you have me under surveillance now? Perhaps a part of your surveillance-mentality is to keep track of people, what they are up to and where they might be. It can become voyeuristic and obsessive.

Having cued this up:

How much surveillance, do I myself do?

Does state surveillance make me feel secure or oppressed?

Is surveillance a good or a bad thing?