Monday, February 23, 2009

British advocate for snooping and surveillance snitched by neighbors for illegally pocketing expenses

Love that delicious irony. If anything, this story is a stirring reminder that the "what are you afraid of if you aren't hiding anything?" people we deal with in any discussion of civil liberties may have just as much to lose when Big Bruddah takes over as the rest of us (of course, it's not a perfect example - UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith committed an actual crime).

More generally, the article is a stunning rebuttal to the argument that citizens who have committed no crime should be reported responsibility-free based on the suspicions, fears and paranoias of their neighbors. As the UK Home Office's ad put it:
"How can you tell if they're a normal everyday person or a terrorist? The answer is that you don't have to. If you call the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321, the specialist officers you speak to will analyse the information. They'll decide if and how to follow it up. You don't have to be sure. If you suspect it, report it."
If that isn't scary, I'm not sure what is.

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