December 27, 2005 When George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in 1949, he wrote of a world where humanity’s every movement was monitored by Big Brother – recent developments in the UK suggest his landmark work may prove chillingly prophetic. Two recently syndicated articles by journalist Steve Connor serve to highlight just how far the British Government has progressed in its quest to monitor the movements of its citizens. The articles entitled Britain will be first country to monitor every car journey and Surveillance UK: why this revolution is only the start begin by detailing the UK Government’s plans for a network of tens of thousands of cameras that automatically read the number plate of every car passing them, hence constructing a massive database of every vehicle’s movements so police can analyse any journey a driver has made in the previous five years – computers capable of adding together thousands of exact times and locations of a vehicle every time it takes to the roads. Within three months, the computers will be storing 35 million number-plate reads per day and the plan calls for the network to be massively increased in the number of data collection points, with service stations, local traffic authority cameras and supermarket carparks to be added. The second article suggests the scheme will inevitably be broadened to incorporate facial recognition and a much greater number of data points.
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