Monday, August 25, 2008

UK: The Upside Of Big Brother

UK often gets grief for its extensive system of closed-circuit TV monitoring that, in effect, keeps track of everything that happens in major cities. It's seen as a sign of creeping Orwellian loss of privacy. But what about the increasing number of cases where the CCTV system helps prevent injustice from occurring?

Look, for instance, at the case of a Muslim taxi driver falsely accused of rape. The accuser has a history of being a binge drinker, and had made racist comments about the cab company before the date of the rape accusation. When the case finally came before a magistrate, it was proven through CCTV tapes that the attack could not have occurred; GPS evidence from the taxi verified this. Confronted, the accuser recanted her accusation, and was sentenced to 8 months in jail for the false accusation.

So Orwellian government saw justice done. Was it worth the price in lost privacy? The Muslim cab driver would probably agree heartily that it was.

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