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I’ve just watched a programme on BBC television, which neatly points out all that is wrong with the surveillance society, and the reliance placed on technology by the authorities, to the detriment of the innocent citizen.

The Liverpool police were having a crack down on uninsured cars one day, and deployed 40 + police vehicles with number plate recognition systems. One car was stopped because the police national computer indicated that it was uninsured. The lady driving it was accompanied by her children, and vociferously maintained that it was insured, yet the police showed that the system indicated otherwise, and seized her car. She was left to complete her journey, (accompanied by her children and a birthday cake and gifts for her mother’s 50th birthday party) without her car.

It turned out that the car was insured and that the central police national computer had not been updated with the relevant information from the insurance database.

We used to have a society where one was innocent until shown otherwise. In so many walks of life these days, this basic premise has been turned on its head. It seems to me that this has crept up on us and these powers have been seized by the authorities without any meaningful mandate from the public.

Is it any wonder that many of us are concerned about the government’s rush towards an identity card system. In so many areas we see a breakdown in technology and systemic failures of administration, sometimes tragically so in the case of Jean-Paul de Menezes.

It’s about time this government backed off and actually started to deal with the real problems in society.

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