WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Look out, there’s surveillance about!

17 July, 2020

‘Is there no end to these intrusive measures of social control?’

• DURING lockdown the surveillance society has gathered pace surreptitiously, from Argos Panoptes, the many-eyed giant of Greek legend, through to Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon in which everyone can be spied upon (in prisons, workhouses, hospitals, “mental asylums”, schools “a covered situation of the master, seconded by partitions or screens between scholars”).

Now, during the virus scare, Marks & Spencer and Tescos have installed banks of cameras. Why? We already have more CCTVs in London than anywhere.

We’ve got breathalysers, speed cameras, cigarette warnings, phone tappings, email hacking, Asbos, social exclusion units, neighbourhood watch, a behavioural insights team, etc.

Is there no end to these intrusive measures of social control, which make a nonsense of hard-won United Kingdom civil liberties?

MIKE BOR
St George’s Fields, W2

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