The latest problem to be thrown at us, on top of war, global warming, disease etc, is that we are 'sleepwalking into a surveillance society'.
The worry is that, owing to all the data being collected these days, we no longer have any real privacy.
We are covered by cameras, the 'powers that be' have oodles of information on everyone of us, and the private sector has got in on the act with the likes of loyalty cards.
Yet, the vocal groups (and who knows if these are the minority or the majority) want it all ways.
They want their privacy, while trying to make sure that all these Johnny Foreigners don't come over uninvited, that the 'man next door' doesn't claim sickness benefit while on a mountaineering holiday in Tibet and that when needed, the emergency services will have everything at their fingertips to know exactly what drugs can and can't be given to you while you're lying in the road, and/or have access to high-definition CCTV footage to identify who it was who kicked seven shades of the proverbial out of you.
I think that we need to look at pragmatism and try to put 'privacy' into context. What do we mean by privacy here?
Do we really think that all of the 13 million CCTV cameras in the UK are being watched by forces which are just waiting for us to inadvertently drop a paper hankie on the street?
Do we really believe that hordes of people are sitting in some dusty basement in Cheltenham reading the email that you sent with that particularly non-PC joke in it?
Are we worried that we might just get caught after we've mugged some poor unfortunate?
Could this be it? We're not really bothered about 'privacy' as such, but we're worried that we might get caught? Speed cameras would seem to be a prime example of this 'privacy' argument.
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