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Who's Watching You?
The Chilling Truth About the
State, Surveillance, and Personal Freedom
UK Edition

John Gibb

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Collins & Brown

Published : 2005

Copyright : John Gibb 2005

ISBN-10 : PB 1-84340-292-0
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-84340-292-3

Publisher's Write-Up

In this present age of sophisticated technology, governments and their agencies have the capabilities to track citizens not only on the street (CCTV surveillance equipment is everywhere) but also in the 'privacy' of our homes (we leave a footprint whenever we use the Internet). Governments maintain this level of interference is for our own safety but many worry that the menace of 'Big Brother' as depicted by George Orwell is fast becoming reality. This book analyses the fragmentation of civil liberties in the 'Free West.'

Today, US and British Governments allow imprisonment without trial and chip away at basic freedoms like trial by jury, the right to remain silent and the right to be judged solely on the evidence. The state is tightening its grip on us by watching and recording what we do because they know they can get away with it and because knowledge is power.

The book is split into 11 chapters. Among the key topics covered are the prevalence of CCTV - if you work in London or any other major city in the UK you will be filmed by the State at least 300 times every day - the myriad state intelligence gathering agencies (the US alone has 41 registered), the credit rating agencies and their record of all your financial transactions, and satellite surveillance.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Paul Lappen (181207) Rating (8/10)

This review is for the UK Edition. For the US Edition, co-written with Mick Farren, go here.

Review by Paul Lappen
Rating 8/10
America is not the only country where the threat of terrorism, and the subsequent encouraging of that fear by the State, has led to the steady erosion of civil liberties for the average individual. This book explores the situation in Britain, said to be the most watched society on Earth.

No one knows just how many closed circuit TV cameras are working in Britain at any given moment; estimates range from 2 to 3 million. The average person could find themselves on a CCTV screen up to 300 times a day. No longer do bored security guards have to sit in front of rows of TV screens. New software allows the system to distinguish between normal and abnormal behaviour. Such abnormal behaviour is automatically flagged and displayed on the one TV screen for the guard to analyze.

The retailers of this world are building up a more comprehensive portrait of an individual's purchases and buying habits, with that person's willing consent. It is done through recording credit card transactions and the use of store discount cards (Is a discount of a few percent on your purchase really worth giving all of your personal information to some retailer's database?). What the retailers don't know about a person, the credit reporting agencies do know. Their information comes from a seemingly infinite array of sources, and accuracy of the information is not guaranteed.

ECHELON is a global electronic interception system that aims to capture every phone call, email, fax and telex communication between America, Europe and the Middle East. It is run by the National Security Agency, with help from its British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand counterparts. A major listening station is at a place called Menwith Hill in Yorkshire. Without the absolutely highest security clearance, don't even bother trying to get in. Members of the European and British Parliaments do not have such clearance. France is building its own smaller version of ECHELON, using current satellite technology.

This is a fascinating, and pretty spooky, book. There is a list of groups in the back of the book working on various aspects of the privacy issue. About all a person can do is to keep any more civil liberties from disappearing in the name of security (those liberties that are gone are not coming back anytime soon). This book is recommended for everyone; those who know their way around this issue, and those who know nothing about this issue.
Paul Lappen (18th December 2007)

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