Friday, 23 February 2007

Whatever happened to Privacy in this Country?


You remember, the condition human beings used to crave... just to be left alone, not prejudged, to take care of their own business without the interference of others,or the intrusions of others?
The simply fact is we gave it away. In the name of security, we gave it away. One of the most precious possessions we had, privacy, we gave away.
We gave it to the government. We gave it away to the retailers, insurance companies, the Revenue Service, the Census, and even the petrol station. (Next time you fill-uplook overhead. Chances are you will see a mini-camera pointed in your direction.
Smile, you're on Candid Camera!)
I'm from the old school. I believe that what is mine is mine and that includes my business. It really bugs me, no end, to have my picture taken without my knowledge or permission. I have left a number of stores with merchandise still in the checkout, or on the checkout counter,because they were going to take my photograph as I wrote them a cheque, or used my credit card.
I consider that an insult of the highest order. It pre-supposes that I am a criminal bent on stealing something or writing them a bad cheque (which is the same thing.). It is demeaning, and belittling. Not long ago, I stood in a car park of the local "Big Yellow Storage" and counted 22 cameras aimed at the car park.
No movement in that parking lot would go unnoticed, or unrecorded. I have no idea how many cameras there are in the store. They take some pain in concealing them, but they are in there by the dozens. I can only wonder how many are in the toilets!
Now, to really make it worse, to twist the knife, so to speak, are the stores which have the sign on the front door telling you the store uses "cameras for your protection". You've seen them, I'm sure.
Look, they have just lied to you before you even enter the store and you still want to go in there and give them your hard earned money???
Don't even get me started on Speed Cameras! Well, now that you have, I'll go ahead and rant. I hate 'em! Before, all we had to contend with was a cop sitting behind adboards and ambushing speedsters. When they came out from behind those adboards and the Police's revenue dropped. The answer? Install cameras all over the place to snap pictures of unsuspecting motorists as they breeze through red lights. The take is split with the Government. The owners of the cameras get the largest portion.
Anyway you slice it... Speed cameras are a dishonorable way to earn money. It is an electronic ambush. The honorable solution? They should put traffic cops back on the beat. You know, this country fought a war because we wanted to be "left alone"! You can tell we lost.
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