UK Is Ready for Its Closeup

With 1 surveillance camera for every 15 Britons, unexamined life is nonexistent
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2007 4:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – The nation that embraced the "Big Brother" TV show is becoming eerily like the society George Orwell envisioned, reports the LA Times. Litterers under closed-circuit surveillance respond to commands to pick up trash they drop, and errant cyclists are ordered to dismount in pedestrian-only areas. Britons increasingly are trading privacy for security, even in small villages.

One constable warns against allowing CCTV to infiltrate towns with small populations and quick tongues. “Suppose Mr. Brand is seen walking down the local street with Mrs. Wight," he says. "In a village environment, it begins to cause a rumor.” A worldwide survey ranked Britain on par with China and Russia for privacy violations, but the familiar cameras have drawn little opposition.