The safest country in the world
No, it is not Iraq, as the US government will try to convince us after the elections there and then one more time later this year. The winner is… the UK.
After my recent visit to the ‘workshop of the world’ I was stunned. By 2006 UK citizens were enjoying the cheap and immaculately precise policing services of 4.2 million CCTV cameras. At every corner. Without exceptions.
Additionally, there is the Oyster card in the London Tube (many EU capitals have a similar one, such as MOBIB in Brussels) with which it is easy to track who travels where and how often. Not to mention products with RFID chips and tracking devices in IDs; use of virtual money (with restricted bank secrecy) and so on. Most of these surveillance mechanisms are deployed as ‘necessary security measures’, especially anti-terrorism, or come along as a way to make the life of the average consumer easier. As if it is not easy enough.
Two years ago I remember I was appalled by the news that London is full of ultra-sound devices aimed at dispersing groups of young people after 10 PM. The frequencies could be heard only by people with very ‘sharp ear’ which in most cases is people under 20. Apparently, it was just one of the many steps.
These days, another step to monitor and control was introduced – microchips in trash cans that would communicate information about their capacity and prompt when the garbage should be collected. So far so good- smart decision. But critics say that UK administration plans to equip citizens with cards that would then communicate to these microchips, thus creating a database of who litters how. And then given that eco-taxation is slowly making its way through… individual garbage taxis just around the corner!
Garbage fees may be easier to take , but consider the following. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans 4 pedigrees from the UK – pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosas, the Dogo Argentinos, and the Fila Brasileiros (none among my favourites). This however is not enough for the security of UK residents – last week Home Secretary Alan Johnson announced that ‘criminality and anti-social behavior’ of dangerous dogs’ owners need to be tackled immediately. How? By implanting a microchip in the dog with its data, and the name of its owner (probably their bank details as well, so dogs could be charged when fauling the lawns).
According to the Guardian ‘Under the scheme a microchip the size of a grain of rice is injected under the skin of the dog between its shoulder blades. The chip contains a unique code number, the dog’s name, age, breed and health as well as the owner’s name, address and phone number. When the chip is “read” by a handheld scanner the code number is revealed and the details can be checked on a national database.‘
This year the dogs, next year – the humans. It is of little significance whether this is because of security reasons or to make shopping easier . Labour Government is determined to police every citizen and every pet. So will be the next one. This makes the UK the most policed country in the world.
We often talk about democracy transition of former communist countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It seems now that the fatherland of modern democracy is coming back from where everyone else is going.