Big Brother Would Like A Word With You

Its not enough that Big Brother is watching you - and in Britain, with its thousands of closed circuit television cameras, that's saying something. The innovative watchers in Middlesbrough have fitted loudspeakers to seven of its 158 cameras so you can hear Big Brother, too.


(Big Brother Talks and Watches)

Control room operators who see any sort of anti-social behaviour - from littering to late-night brawls near pubs - can now sound a verbal warning.

The new measure was introduced under the leadership of one Ray Mallon, a former police superintendent who was dubbed Robocop for pioneering the zero-tolerance approach to crime.

As always, if this limited pilot is successful, it will be extended from city to suburban streets.

Control room operators are being counseled to provide polite suggestions to evil-doers. For example, the practice of simply shouting "Oi you! Stop that!" is not permitted.

Not everyone is happy with the new system. Some people point out that cameras are really no substitute for having serviceful police officers on the beat.

Other unhappy souls include those who have read Orwell's 1984, and are familiar with the slippery slope that any technological implementation of Big Brother provides. Incessant monitoring of ordinary citizens should be repugnant to everyone.

Update 05-Apr-2007: I found the right Orwell quote to go with this story, finally:

'Smith!' screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith W.! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You're not trying. Lower, please! That's better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.'

A sudden hot sweat had broken out all over Winston's body. His face remained completely inscrutable. Never show dismay! Never show resentment! A single flicker of the eyes could give you away. He stood watching while the instructress raised her arms above her head and -- one could not say gracefully, but with remarkable neatness and efficiency -- bent over and tucked the first joint of her fingers under her toes.

(End update.)

Update 10-Apr-2007:Take a look at this article for further disturbing developments - UK's Orwelling 'Baby' Brother Cams. (End update.)

For other all-to-real implementations of the ideas of George Orwell, read

Read more here.

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