With the London Olympics just a few months away, an article on London’s plentiful supply of CCTV cameras caught my attention.
London installed many of the cameras in the mid-nineties in an attempt to combat the cities high crime rate.
Privacy advocates argue that the cameras have created a surveillance city similar to Orwell’s 1984 where privacy and freedom are curtailed in the guise of fighting crime and terrorism. The balance between security and personal freedom is the central question confronting democracies.
If we as democracies surrender ourselves to personal intrusion in the name of security, than we have been defeated by the forces terrorism and repression. We’ve fought wars against Islamic extremism, communism, Nazism, and Fascism, holding democracy up as the greatest good.We cannot cede the democratic advantage in the name of security.
Cameras have not shown the anticipated ability to reduce crime in the U.S. I think the U.K. will discover the same thing. The United Kingdom is merely opening itself to the charge of becoming Big Brother.