Thursday, September 02, 2004

1984 Now

A brief reminder that satellite tracking of criminals goes live today, at least as a trial. The "prolific offenders" include "convicted burglars, robbers and car thieves", although it's hard to not get the impression that these are simply a lab-rat demographic as the article goes on:

"If the offender strays into an area they are excluded from the police are alerted." - how exactly do you define an no-go area for a car thief? Pedestrian areas are ok, I presume.

And it's clear which "end of the spectrum" Blunky wants to prioritise:

"We should use every tool at our disposal and if with very serious violent sexual offenders we can ensure that their supervision can be enhanced by satellite tracking we should do it." he says.

Fortunately he continues to undermine his own faith in any "corrective system" the country might currently be involved in, and maintains a gleeful hand-rubbing posture:

"We should also do it ... with low-level offences where we could have a prison without bars, making the community sentence really secure, being able to send people to jail if they break their curfew or break their community sentence."

How sweet... All those 10-year old shoplifters won't have to worry about being sent to prison any more. Now, British Government [tm] brings the prison to *you*! And because they're not really "locked up", and it's all for the "public" good anyway, surely there aren't any restrictions on who this technology can be applied to? (Comments noting otherwise duly appreciated.)

And, my favourite quote of the whole piece...

"However, under this system there is no way of knowing where the criminal has gone."

Magnifico. And just in case you weren't paranoid enough yet, I quote this gem:

"It will be a very, very clear, constant reminder to the offenders that we're watching them, we know where they've been, we know what they're doing and if they stray, we'll act to stop them." - DB.

Pretty soon, the "offenders" and the "criminals" being spoken of are going to be a very real and very large part of our society, not because the lack of technology until now has been insufficient to prevent their increase, but because too much faith is being placed in technical measures rather than educational ones. Down this path lies paranoid madness, and a very real and significant number of our own children being "tracked" simply because we've forgotten how to raise them.

Fancy gadgets do not a well society make.

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