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British Civil Liberties Film Released 282

Posted by kdawson
from the slippery-slope-done-gone-vertical dept.
An anonymous reader sends us to a BBC article about a British film likely to attract the attention of civil liberties supporters. The film, Taking Liberties , is a documentary about eroding civil liberties in present-day Britain. It will be showing in cinemas in major cities across the UK starting next weekend. From the article: "Director Chris Atkins wants Taking Liberties to shake the British public out of their apathy over what he sees as the dangerous erosion of traditional rights and freedoms. 'This film uses shock tactics. We needed to be unashamedly populist... Once you give up traditional liberties such as free speech and the right to protest you are not going to easily get them back,' says Atkins."
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British Civil Liberties Film Released

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  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:05PM (#19364947)
    ...and just download this documentary. It sounds interesting.
    • I had recently seen to videos that conveyed messages about some current events; http://www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com/ [whokilledt...riccar.com], and Al Gore's http://www.an-inconvenient-truth.com/ [an-inconve...-truth.com].

      It's interesting to me that video has become the newest, best tool to portray a point of view on an issue. Now if we could get these videos on the airwaves on a regular basis, I think the public good would be served. I realize that oil companies, tobacco companies, and other groups with an agenda might tend to drown out the discourse wi
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Taking Liberties is, but it may be in a delicate position.
        This is a small film, so why is it being released in summer blockbuster season? Maybe it will get an audience--after all, the BBC is advertising it. But it's also possible that this film will be in the cinemas for two weeks and then be pulled for "lack of interest," since so many Brits will be watching Pirates of the Caribbean 3 or the latest Harry Potter film.
        And who distributes this to DVD? When it does reach DVD, the DVDs might all be region
      • The comparison with environmental matters is a good one; but the connection is not film. It's that in both cases, people in the know have long been aghast that the public and politicians are oblivious to the issue. In the case of the environment, the niche interest has finally spouted into the public arena. I'm desperately hoping that privacy will also reach such a tipping point and we'll suddenly find that general apathy and disinterest turns into sudden and serious action (although leave cookies alone!
        • But there is also profit to be had in widespread environmental awareness. Until the UK or the US starts nationalising major corperations, there isn't much monetary profit to be had in protecting freedoms. People are so used to making themselves vassals for a paycheck, that if there is no corporate sponsored awareness TV campaign, there will be no mainstream call for severe political reform.
    • Pray tell, what liberty is there to download films illegally? Or are we operating under Slash-Law where it's your inalienable right to enjoy everything for free?

      • by aussie_a (778472)
        Some believe that it shouldn't be against the law to use things for personal use without adhering to a license or paying for it. This belief, I believe, is starting to gain mainstream awareness in Sweeden, so it isn't simply "Slash-Law."
  • by Threni (635302) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:06PM (#19364957)
    Yes, but if you overdramatize it people will say "it's not that bad - most of those laws will never negatively affect my life" and whenever they hear about the issue in the future they'll think "Oh, I've considered that - I even saw a film about it once - but I've decided it's not really a problem".
    • by Original Replica (908688) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:37PM (#19365145) Journal
      but I've decided it's not really a problem".

      Which is why political change usually comes in the form of War. Most people don't do anything about anything unless they see it as a problem that is costing them more than it would to address the problem. When it comes to regaining eroding freedoms, the cost of getting arrested at a real protest is too high for comfortable middle class folks. Only when things get bad enough that there is no "comfortable middle class" will the masses be likely to deal with the problem of bad government. By that time the only solution is civil war. When a government takes away your freedoms they don't willingly give them back.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2007 @04:28PM (#19365953)

        Which is why political change usually comes in the form of War.

        Just like in the Great Woman Wars, when the suffragettes fought their way, rifles in hand, to the ballot box, the Race Wars waged in the '50s under the careful, analytical and ruthless direction of Martin Luther King, and the Gay/Lesbian Guerrillas of the '70s(who still, of course, meet the Christian Right Crusaders in occasional skirmishes).

        Or perhaps there are other ways to change unjust systems in democracies? I'm painfully aware that democracy doesn't work as well as we'd like, but saying that a war is the "usual" way these changes happen seems either overly prematurely defeatist("We can't stop this from devolving into a war"), apathetic("I'm not going to do anything about this until it devolves into a war") or like a survivalist fantasy("Can't wait 'till the war!").
        • by Original Replica (908688) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @08:23PM (#19367383) Journal
          You are correct. Where there is a free press and democracy, full on civil war is not required. That's how Ghandi was successful in his pacifist revolution. But also remember that Martin Luther King Jr. was assasinated, and there were many deaths before his in the pursuit of African-American rights (800 dead in the 1919 Elaine Race Riot, alone). Homosexuals have suffered their share of lynchings and violence as well. The Stonewall Riots lasted three nights of 2000 Homosexuals violently confronting 400 armed police. I think one of the main reasons for the lesser (but not absent)violence of Women's Sufferage is that all participants are the wives and daughters of voting men.

          So no, it may not be War, like the American Revolution, but it would still be war, like those pushing the issue have reason to fear for their safety. Still far too much commitment. What Rights are you willing to get beaten with a police baton to protect?
      • When a government takes away your freedoms they don't willingly give them back.

        What I find somewhat amusing about contemporary political dialogue from some quarters is that they are quick to make noises like "Chimpy McHitlerBush", and follow that up with some talk about universal health care.
        The Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Security, etc. etc. have had a net negative impact on individual freedom from interference. Deciding whether or not the tradeoff is worthwhile or suicidal is an exercise for

        • That Independent article didn't directly speak either way about socialism in Germany. The problems acknowledged were high taxes, low wages, and a large guest-worker program--and I imagine many of us could argue that America already reached that point itself, or will reach it soon if our president has any say.
          High taxes may be related to socialism, but that's not the only reason for high taxes. And I had never heard how low wages were related to socialism.
          Guest-worker programs aren't directly related to
          • You're right; the link was less than explicit between Socialism and people ejecting from Germany.
            Having married a lovely German lady, I sort of took it for granted that everyone knew that the micro-management of the economy by the government was stifling the economy and driving people out.
            To drop an example, my father-in-law is slated to retire in a year or two. He is by law precluded from, say, opening a bicycle shop or something.
            Lovely place to hang out, but I find myself in disagreement with a lot of
  • Gah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:07PM (#19364967)

    We needed to be unashamedly populist
    Are they trying to say that if you have to lie or distort the truth, it is OK because the ends justify the means? I don't doubt that the UK has started to turn into a surveillance state but that doesn't excuse a filmmaker from making populist political propaganda. This will just polarize people rather than help people come to a common decision that these surveillance techniques are extreme. It will be about as useful for changing things as Fahrenheit 9/11 was.
    • Re:Gah! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday June 02, 2007 @04:13PM (#19365829) Homepage Journal

      I don't doubt that the UK has started to turn into a surveillance state but that doesn't excuse a filmmaker from making populist political propaganda.

      So, we should just accept all the propaganda that's being shoved our way via Fox News, talk radio (ClearChannel, Salem, TRN)? You don't think that Tom Paine or Ben Franklin wrote "political propaganda"?

      I'm not saying there should be any support for dishonesty, but the best political messages have a little drama. You have to get people's attention before you give them the message, yes?

      When the mainstream media as used by corporate power is putting their resources toward putting people to sleep and hypnotizing them to be good consumers and borrowers, then maybe it's time to WAKE THEM UP. I mean sure, life will go on the day after we are all slaves to corporate power. We'll eat, sleep, fuck, except our souls will have become superfluous. We'll still be able to watch American Idol after work, and we didn't really need to read all that depressing anti-Bush, anti-Growth, anti-Profit nonsense. Did we?

      I'm not going to fault someone who cares about freedom because they used the tools of propaganda to slap these sleepy-assed sheep awake. That's why, in spite of his shortcomings, I think Michael Moore is a patriot, and is doing something very necessary. Of course, the people on the Right will tell you that you shouldn't listen to him because HE'S FAT, but his documentaries are a lot more carefully researched and intellectually honest than anything you'll see come from Rupert Murdoch's sausage-grinder. Sure, it's propaganda, but thank God.
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        Actually, the way that he distorts the truth and offers obviously one-sided arguments is what turns most of the people I know away from him. He's not waking up the sheep, he's pissing them off and making them less likely to listen to a similar message, but one that's presented in a way that they'll listen to. Just because "HE'S FAT" doesn't mean that's what people ignore him for.

        Also, you yourself will never be effective at influencing people, because you're so fucking confrontational and arrogant that
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Raenex (947668)

        I think Michael Moore is a patriot, and is doing something very necessary.

        He made millions with his films. He's just pushing his own political agenda, in a screechy, one-sided way. If he's a patriot, then so is Rush Limbaugh.

        Of course, the people on the Right will tell you that you shouldn't listen to him because HE'S FAT

        Now you're acting just like you accuse "the Right" of. I'm sure there are plenty of fat jokes at his expense, but there's more criticism than that. After reading Truth about Bowling for Columbine [hardylaw.net] some years back, I lost all desire to see any of Moore's films.

        but his documentaries are a lot more carefully researched and intellectually honest than anything you'll see come from Rupert Murdoch's sausage-grinder. Sure, it's propaganda, but thank God

        No thanks. I don't like spin from either the right or the left. I'll take a Frontline document

  • most ppl are stupid (Score:2, Interesting)

    by erlehmann (1045500)
    FTFA

    People will only wake up to the destruction of their civil liberties when it is too late to do anything about it.
    for most ppl i know, this is just plain wrong. they are just not interested.
    oh, and before you ask, many of them regard themselves as 'intellectual' (a.k.a. they don't read yellow press etc.).

    kinda seems like only IT ppl and civil rights activists are concerned now. and i absolutely cannot see anything that would change that.
    • by Geekbot (641878)
      I once had an American librarian tell me it was a good idea for government to track what people read in libraries because it would stop terrorists.
      • by Urusai (865560)
        Another effective way to stop terrorists is kill everyone. Let's start with people like this librarian.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hxnwix (652290)
      Sometimes you can be aware and yet still asleep:

      When the Nazis came for the communists,
      I remained silent;
      I was not a communist.

      When they locked up the social democrats,
      I remained silent;
      I was not a social democrat.

      When they came for the trade unionists,
      I did not speak out;
      I was not a trade unionist.

      When they came for me,
      there was no one left to speak out.
  • Call me a troll if you want, but the Bush administration has clamped down hard on free speech, monitors just about everything, litmus tests public servants, puts whoever it wants on various lists, puts others in prison without charging them, declares pre-emptive war with no legal basis, and does it all while putting every citizen and their children so deep in debt they will probably never get out.

    Talk about disappearing civil liberties, but this country might have well reverted to monarchy rule. It would
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:20PM (#19365033)
      The UK is worse. Get back to me when there are talking CCTV cameras in New York and DC.

      We are headed there too, but they're one step ahead of us.
      • by CountBrass (590228) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:39PM (#19365157)
        Even better. Here in Birmingham (central England) we have Policeman and Traffic Wardens equipped with cameras in their hats/ helmets. Seriously.
        • Here in Birmingham (central England) we have Policeman and Traffic Wardens equipped with cameras in their hats/ helmets.

          I think policemen need cameras in their hats/helmets. Now someone could actually watch the watchers - just so long as the people watching the camera footage aren't corrupt themselves.
        • Is that better or worse than cameras in police cars (found in police cars all over America)?
          • by Deadstick (535032)
            At least the cop car cameras begin doing their thing when you've been pulled over, hopefully with some degree of probable cause.

            rj
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bigstrat2003 (1058574)
      To quote an AC post that got modded flamebait (and I honestly hope it was because of the little rant at the end, not the rest, because this is a very valid question):

      Could you please provide an example of the Bush administration's limiting free speech in a way that it was not limited before the administration, monitoring anything that wasn't monitored before Bush was elected, using hiring practices that were not in use before the election, illegally imprisoning people without charge, declaring war illegally, or forcing anyone into debt?

      I'm not trolling. I'm not accusing you of lying. I really don't know of any good examples of the limitations of free speech which you accuse the Bush administration of. If they really do exist, I wish to know about them (well, no, I don't, but I need to know).

      • "Free Speech Zones"? I'm not American, so I don't know much of your domestic history, but the first time I heard of these was only a couple of years ago.
        • by Jerf (17166)
          Free speech zones [wikipedia.org] have a long history, and it's not all American either.

          It's also worth pointing out that if the intent of the protesters is to actively disrupt the target, and I think that's a fair assessment of many anti-Bush protests, the zones really are promoting Free Speech, which targets of the protest have as well. Free Speech is not an unlimited right to disrupt the speech of others.

          Free Speech zones are a sort of dangerous precedent, but unfettered protesting is a problem too. If protesters believ
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ajanp (1083247)
      Probably worth mentioning that Michael Moore is making a sequel called Fahrenheit 9/11 1/2. It's unfortunate that he's the one making it though because everybody knows that his films are completely biased and one-sided. Fahrenheit 9/11 was more of an anti-bush propaganda film than a documentary, and that's exactly why his sequel is going to be discredited before it's even released, regardless of whether or not its actually good.

      What needs to happen is that somebody reputable, well-known, and with the actu

    • by Jerf (17166)
      How many civil liberties are disappearing all around the world while demagogues are distracting you by yelling about the United States' supposed civil liberty problems, which after seven years of rule by a supposed monster has mostly manifested as annoying and mostly pointless security checkpoints at airports?

      While you're distracted by the mostly fanciful descriptions of the evil of Bush, Britain is being plated with surveillance cameras, Venezuela is sliding into dictatorship (just got the most popular TV
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...but not necessarily because of its content. No, what is interesting is how the film maker will decry the loss of liberties, the encroachments of freedom, and the institution of censorship -- in a film openly distributed and marketed to the general public, and all without the government shutting him down. Yessireee...a police state! That's what we're living in for sure. The jackbooted thugs will be here any minute now...any minute now...I'm sure they're almost here...somewhere. Well, maybe their blac
    • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:46PM (#19365199)
      You're absolutely right.

      And yes, we all understand that there are more cameras, modifications of laws to account for acts of terror, etc., but people simply can't see the application of technology or updates of laws for what it is: for the most part, a genuine, honest attempt by persons within free governments in free societies to protect that system that are no more sinister than the police or the state adopting any other new technology that makes its charge from society easier, or an update to any other law, which we ostensibly value in societies that are based on rule of law.

      Are there people with ulterior motives and are people in power looking to stay in power? Sure. Absolutely. But the CCTV systems in the UK aren't a part of some larger plot to create a secret police state and keep "the people" down. I find it humorous that the people who live in what are essentially the freest, richest nations that afford them, in general and on balance, the widest variety of personal freedoms coupled with the rule of law required to maintain order and stability in society for all, seem to think they're living in rapidly degenerating 1984-style police states.

      We are certainly not perfect. But to paraphrase Churchill, the general systems of what we loosely call "democracy" are a hell of a lot better than any other systems we've seen tried over the centuries. We have the freest flow of information ever, the ability to communicate and share ideas across the globe to nearly anyone instantly, and the ability to produce alarmist films like this without retribution (save by others who disagree with you, which it is also their right to do).

      Sure, be vigilant. Be watchful. But this idea that society-at-large is nothing but consumerist sheep who have been brainwashed into complacency by corporations and government, and only the truly enlightened who see the "truth" that we're in a rapid decline to totalitarianism - and I don't care if it's the US, the UK, or EU in general - are going to save us all is just garbage, and these people really need to get some perspective on things, and perhaps a healthy grip on reality at the same time.
      • by Dogtanian (588974) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @03:05PM (#19365319) Homepage

        And yes, we all understand that there are more cameras, modifications of laws to account for acts of terror, etc., but people simply can't see the application of technology or updates of laws for what it is: for the most part, a genuine, honest attempt by persons within free governments
        Whether or not the attempt was made in good faith, the risk of any such system being misused by any future government is even more important that what this one are likely to do with it. It's a cliche, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

        Personally, I don't trust the current government very far, but if I did, the same principle applies.

        I find it humorous that the people who live in what are essentially the freest, richest nations that afford them, in general and on balance, the widest variety of personal freedoms
        Yep. You're damn right that I enjoy and want to keep those freedoms.

        Are there people with ulterior motives and are people in power looking to stay in power? Sure. Absolutely. But the CCTV systems in the UK aren't a part of some larger plot to create a secret police state and keep "the people" down.
        Perhaps not. But does it carry the risk of being abused for the purpose you describe? Yes? Are there sufficient measures in place to prevent this? No? Then please excuse my scepticism, but I don't trust any system that is reliant upon the goodwill of the people administering it.

        But to paraphrase Churchill, the general systems of what we loosely call "democracy" are a hell of a lot better than any other systems we've seen tried over the centuries.
        What is your point here? That because these moves have been carried out by a democratically elected government, that they're beyond criticism? Nope. Democracy does not mean being unable to point out the flaws of our elected leaders plans; on the contrary, what's the point of democracy if we're not free to criticise and suggest that things might be done differently, by different people?
      • I agree that these people are ridiculous, but in part it's people like this that keep people in line. Knowing that even an innocent suggestion or law can be twisted to resemble the most sinister act from 1984, policy makers are more careful about what they say and do. The best way to keep things from crossing the line is to make sure that nobody can even come close to the line. So while I agree with you that people like those making this film are blowing things out of proportion, and while I personally don'
    • Nice try (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dogtanian (588974) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:52PM (#19365237) Homepage

      ...but not necessarily because of its content. No, what is interesting is how the film maker will decry the loss of liberties, the encroachments of freedom, and the institution of censorship -- in a film openly distributed and marketed to the general public, and all without the government shutting him down.
      Nice strawman, but he was warning against the destruction of civil liberties, not claiming that Britain was a police state yet.
    • by makomk (752139) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @03:48PM (#19365643) Journal
      ...but not necessarily because of its content. No, what is interesting is how the film maker will decry the loss of liberties, the encroachments of freedom, and the institution of censorship -- in a film openly distributed and marketed to the general public, and all without the government shutting him down. Yessireee...a police state! That's what we're living in for sure. The jackbooted thugs will be here any minute now...any minute now...I'm sure they're almost here...somewhere. Well, maybe their black helicopters broke down or something, but I'm sure they're on their way!

      I see someone has already pointed out your strawman argument, but think about this for a moment. If someone were to prevent distribution of the film, Britain still has enough of a free press (and enough freedom of speech) to kick up a major fuss. On the other hand, if it's distributed, so what? A few people who already agreed with it get their views confirmed, people like the AC and the public dismiss the message and use the film's existence to reassure themselves that we have free speech, and the Government is unaffected. You're looking for the wrong kind of censorship in the wrong place.
    • by ciggieposeur (715798) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @04:57PM (#19366185)
      No, what is interesting is how the film maker will decry the loss of liberties, the encroachments of freedom, and the institution of censorship -- in a film openly distributed and marketed to the general public, and all without the government shutting him down. Yessireee...a police state! That's what we're living in for sure. The jackbooted thugs will be here any minute now...any minute now...I'm sure they're almost here...somewhere. Well, maybe their black helicopters broke down or something, but I'm sure they're on their way!

      That's how the modern police state works, you see. Freedom of speech is still allowed, dissent is still recorded, and people thus think they aren't really living in a police state.

      However, start organizing against the state and see just how quickly you can get shut down. Your activist groups will be infiltrated, investigations into your personal life will begin, and at the slightest hint of significant success at changing the status quo you will be arrested and charged with a bogus crime to end your career as a political radical. Web sites will describe your fate and complacent onlookers will marvel that in their free society -- which is clearly free because people can read these stories -- some people can still go crazy about such fringe political topics.

      • by rich_r (655226)
        Oh, for some modpoints! Mod it up, mod it up!
      • by Stevecrox (962208)
        This is all a lovely idea but you need to think about a few things first.

        1.Do CCTV camera's effect People's reactions?
        While they do generally stop thugs and chav's do they stop me acting like I normally do? The answers no, the only time I'm even aware of the things is when I'm walking through a rough area and I'm glad to see them. For the rest its like the security camera's in a shop, while people know they exist their not aware of them.

        2. Camera's are watching everyone all the time!
        Obviously false I'
    • by Tuoqui (1091447)
      Yes it is openly distributed and marketed because the state needs to maintain the illusion that people have rights. Dont worry once they have the population brainwashed enough they'll burn all copies of this movie.
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:27PM (#19365077) Journal
    "Banned in all the cinemas, NOW!"
  • make one for the USA?

    how many different "associations" do we have in the US that /. almost daily points out how "they" are trying to put the screws to us?

    "Viva Nepal!" (sorry, couldn't help that)
  • saw it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Teach (29386) <graham AT grahammitchell DOT com> on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:31PM (#19365097) Homepage

    I'm pretty sure I already saw this movie when it was called V for Vendetta. Or was it Children of Men?

    • Children of Men won't be a documentary for another twenty years.
      Note well: if you want to stop fascism in Britain, don't bomb Liverpool!
  • by kahei (466208) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:34PM (#19365127) Homepage

    So in this one South London neighborhood that I occasionally frequent, there was an armed robbery at 4 in the afternoon on the main street last Saturday. It's a quiet neighborhood, very well-balanced, well-off, so it makes sense to come there and rob people.

    There was a similar robbery the previous week.

    The week before that, it was on a weekday evening, I guess they had a busy schedule that week. It's the same guys each time. They live in this totally different neighborhood a way to the south, though.

    And there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. Nothing at all. What are you going to do? Call Batman? The UK police are very nice guys (compared to any other police force I've met) but they really can't do much in this situation.

    The trouble is, this particular chunk of street doesn't have any cameras. The south half of the street near the station does, and the north half near what's called a 'roundabout' does, but there's this bit in the middle that doesn't. So all you have to do is rob people there, since nobody around here is fool enough to intervene and get jailed or killed, and there's no chance of a conviction (or even police attention) without video evidence. If you have video evidence, and there is a history of crime, and someone gets hurt, then in the end, you can get a custodial sentence passed. It's an uphill struggle, though, because there's a hell of a lot of civil liberties in the way.

    If nobody gets hurt, there's nothing you can do even with cameras. Every weekend, kids come up the road from the other, nastier neighborhood to the south, and as they go they kick over stuff and pull flowers out because, well, that's the local culture. It's not a life-threatening problem -- it just means you kind of have to remember to get stuff indoors by a certain time on Fridays. And don't grow rosebushes in the front yard.

    But all is not lost. Armed robbery generally *does* mean someone eventually getting hurt, and next year there will be cameras for that bit of street, yay! And none of this is really *Real Violent Crime* such as you might find in south chicago; it's just that there's no reason *not* to mug people or kick stuff over so it just becomes the normal expectation that those things will happen.

    The thing about 'omg they are taking our libertiez!' is, Civil Liberties in this sense aren't as important as for example the liberty to *not* be mugged or the liberty to *not* have your stuff smashed or the most important liberty of all, the liberty to *not* have the nature of your life dictated by the whims of thugs. The liberty of not being recorded on camera is actually pretty trivial by comparison.

    So install some more freakin cameras. Create new powers to stop 'public nuisance', use electronic tags, maybe suspend habeas corpus or something. Take away more civil liberties. Here, have some of mine. I'll expect them back when I leave the UK.

    • by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:42PM (#19365175) Homepage Journal

      it's just that there's no reason *not* to mug people or kick stuff over so it just becomes the normal expectation that those things will happen.


      Do you recall if it was like that there before cameras were installed in the surrounding area?

      -Peter
    • by dosius (230542)
      But as Franklin said, those who would sacrifice their freedom for a little safety deserve neither (and will get neither).

      -uso.
      • by eclectic4 (665330)
        That's not what he said, but in your defense it's misquoted often. What B.F really said was, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." And he's right. But remember, you only have to scare 51% of the people into thinking that if we don't we will all die, and doing so is getting easier every year. Our knowledge of public relations and swaying popular thought is so deep that I unfortunately do not see those with the power to do the thi
    • by CountBrass (590228) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:43PM (#19365181)
      No the trouble has nothing to do with a lack of cameras. There were no CCTVs 20 years ago and you know what, policemen did their job and, shock horror, caught thieves.

      The actual problem is the competence of the police, or lack thereof. They've become over-reliant on the law bullying the populace. Since the beginning of the year littering has become an arrestable offence and if Tony "Uncle Joe Stalin" Blair has his way before he leaves we'll have the "Suss laws" returning: police can arrest and question you on suspicion of doing something.... no evidence, you just have to look a bit shifty, in the police's opnion.

      • by JustNiz (692889)
        I agree.

        The UK police are completely focussed on automatic revenue-generating activites like giving out speeding tickets. They don't want to actually do real police work and deal with the crime that affects peoples lives on a day to day basis.

        You never see a policeman on the beat any more. The few that you still see are all in cars avoiding any contact with the public.
      • by mormop (415983) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @03:15PM (#19365395)
        It's not so much a matter of Police competence as it is paperwork. Twenty years ago, the Police didn't have to fill in an hours worth of paperwork for an arrest for a minor offence which is why they were on the streets doing their job in the first place. For each minor arrest, a copper can be kept off the streets for a minimum of 1 hour documenting every detail of the incident. If a kid vandalises a car, robs someone and is picked up on a description the reaction is more likely to be "fuck off you can't prove it" than "I won't do it again".

        And there's the truth of the matter. Everyone in the UK knows their rights but too many have no sense of responsibility and they are fully aware of the fact that some smart arse lawyer who doesn't give a shit about truth because that's not what he's paid for will get them off on some minor procedural technicality. And the worst part is that it's a small section of the Police that bought this situation about. Remember the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad that caused as much crime as they stopped? The Birmingham 6 & Guildford 4 convictions, the Special Patrol Group etc. Normally, when things get out of control there's a swing back towards the other side five years down the line only in this case, the swing has continued to the point where your average thug has the same immunity to consequences that the above had in the 70's and 80's.

        CCTV should not be a necessity. Unfortunately, in this "have your cake and eat it" society it is a sticking plaster over the gaping wound of idiot thuggery that seems trendy at the moment. If you can work out how to make being an evil little tosser uncool then you may have a chance of improving things but sadly it seems to be evil little tossers that run this country seem happy to put up more cameras.

         
      • by trewornan (608722)
        "The actual problem is the competence of the police, or lack thereof."

        I recommend you read Wasting Police Time by David Copperfield ISBN:0-9552854-1-0
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by rich_r (655226)
          Or the blog [blogspot.com] from which it's drawn. I don't normally go about recommending blogs, but this one's quite good!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bertie (87778)
      Meanwhile, in my sleepy small town in Surrey, where nothing has ever happened, there's a CCTV camera right outside my bedroom window.

      Big Brother is watching you, but he most certainly isn't watching the fucking criminals.

      Now, just for a minute, try and do something that British people are generally terrible at, and try and look at the big picture. Why is there so much armed crime round your way? Clue: the answer is not "because there aren't any CCTV cameras".

      The real, underlying problem with life in Brita
    • by Original Replica (908688) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @03:10PM (#19365353) Journal
      So all you have to do is rob people there, since nobody around here is fool enough to intervene

      Ahh. there is your problem. People in that nieghborhood don't give a shit. How did nieghborhoods ever have low crime rates before CCTV? Because they stood by their nieghbors and acted in their own best interest by actually doing something about it themselves. By hiding behind closed doors pretending not to see, they are getting the shitty neighborhood they deserve. Act like a victim, get treated like a victim. I have more than once come out of my apartment into the street and made my presence known, when there is a disturbance on my street.(I live in New York City) Guess what happens when I walk out and look them in the eye? Well usually it's some arguement that is starting to turn physical, but when suddenly there is a witness threats go back to being just words. The one actual mugging that I encountered the guy just ran away.
    • by AJWM (19027)
      Thing is, it sounds like you've already lost a key liberty -- the right to defend yourself. Or perhaps the will.

      Next thing you know, the populace is asking Big Brother to please keep an eye on everything, because they're too helpless themselves. Oh wait, you've already asked for that.
    • by bbtom (581232)
      Well, perhaps if the cops could actually arrive as a crime is taking place, that might be useful. As might having them on the beat. You still have to pay someone to sit in the little room watching the CCTV cameras - why not pop them out on to the street instead?

      Also, if I was living in a south London estate (I don't thankfully, I live down in rural Sussex), I'd rather like to own a gun. The government play this little game where they make 'guns' seem like an evil, evil thing which only south London gangster
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 777a (826468)
      I've been a lurker for years, and this is only my third ever post, but I've got to point out the flaw in your logic.

      So in this one South London neighborhood that I occasionally frequent, there was an armed robbery at 4 in the afternoon on the main street last Saturday. It's a quiet neighborhood, very well-balanced, well-off, so it makes sense to come there and rob people.

      There was a similar robbery the previous week. ...

      The trouble is, this particular chunk of street doesn't have any cameras


      It looks like yo
    • by evought (709897)
      Doesn't sound like you need cameras. Sounds like you need competent police. If they cannot be bothered to interview witnesses and investigate the crime, what makes you think that they will do substantially better with the video? They would still have to track down the actual offenders and tie them to the scene, and that takes work. You yourself said that video won't do any good if no one actually gets hurt. I'll bet that if someone does get hurt, they'll nail the first poor sod to the wall that matches thei
  • I'm in the US, so things are a bit different. Apathy is the same. Here, we have our rights enshrined in a Constitution. In Britain everything is based on tradition and the consent of the Crown rather than a written document, unless you go back to the Magna Carta. I could be wrong on that so flame gently if required.

    Nevertheless, when the most sacred and cherished documents in history are trashed by a government of men (British or American) over a period of years, apathy sets in the longer it goes on wit
  • Bad timing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kirun (658684) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:46PM (#19365195) Homepage Journal
    Who's going to go watch a documentary about civil liberties when Big Brother's on TV?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2007 @02:51PM (#19365231)

    They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security.

    It is intresting because the words in bold are not usually included. Watch the excellent british series "yes minister" ("the right/need to know" I believe) for why these words are so fucking important.

    In that episode it is the word "significant" wich is added to a sentence to make it into weasel language.

    Yes, if this quote above is correct, then Benjamin Franklin was a weasel.

    After all, just what do you classify as essential or for that matter tempory. The right to travel outside your own country is hardly essential for the majority of us, and if a sacrifice would grant you a million years of security by the age of the universe that would still be temporary.

    They are weasel words, words that can be used to, well weasel out of commiting yourselve to anything firm. Franklin by including these words could always claim that he never meant for something to be considered an essential liberty or that security measure in his eyes was not temporary.

    The world changes. Take travelling, pasports have been known for a long time and used to be documents that merely asked of friendly powers to let this person pass unharmed. The dutch pasport at least still has text that asks friendly powers to allow the owner of the pasport to free passage and any aid or assitance necesarry. Officious language from an age when the vast majority of people never travelled from their place of birth.

    Nowadays you can easily find a job were you pass several borders each and every day. Taking a long weekend on the other side of europe is common as hell and airports handle millions of people everyday.

    Obviously then a passport today is much different then it once was. More and more info linking the intended owner to the document is included. Loss of an essential liberty? Providing temporary security OR the price for a liberty that gives us some security. Discuss, but know that Benjamin Franklin's famous quote does NOT take a firm stand against any amount of biometrics to be included on your pasport, not even if it was to be injected in your body. "Essential" and "temporary".

    Liberty is a noble goal. Just go ahead, disable the traffic lights on a busy intersection, see how well people cope with liberty. The simple fact is that for instance speed cameras do have a positive effect, areas known to be heavily controlled show a drastic reduction not only in the speeding itself but also in accidents. The essential freedom of being able to speed sacrificed for the temporary security of not being killed by some idiot who thinks he is Michael Schumacher?

    Play an MMORPG for a while, say WoW and see what a world looks like when the police and the state are essentially absent. It ain't pretty. Yes it is freedom, but at what price?

    We should always be wary of what is being done in the name of security, but next time someone quotes Benjamin Franklin and leaves out the two weasel words take note of it. These words were included by a smart man for a good reason, why did they choose to leave them out?

  • they'll be too busy watching the blockbusters that are stacked up for showing over the next few weeks... the only way to get a real audience would be to show it before the main feature or else in primetime on the main channels... but there's no way the main broadcasters would shift their soaps for that... 'tis weird that the really good programmes get shown opposite the cruddy soaps...
  • Nonsense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DiamondGeezer (872237)
    Once you give up traditional liberties such as free speech and the right to protest you are not going to easily get them back,' says Atkins

    We've never had them in the first place, Mr Atkins. In order for there to be inalienable rights like freedom of speech, there must be constitutional limitations on the power of the state, legislature and judiciary, all three of which needing to be subject to the rule of law.

    WE DON'T HAVE SUCH A DOCUMENT. WE DON'T LIVE IN SUCH A STATE.

    We never have.

    Therefore your film abo
    • Re:Nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2007 @05:00PM (#19366207)

      We've never had them in the first place, Mr Atkins. In order for there to be inalienable rights like freedom of speech, there must be constitutional limitations on the power of the state, legislature and judiciary, all three of which needing to be subject to the rule of law.

      WTF are you talking about? The UK is a constitutional monarchy. Our constitution is not a written document, but rather spread across several laws. There are indeed limits on state power and recognition of natural rights, going back all the way to the original Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta. Since we joined the EU last century, we have further restrictions on state power.

      WE DON'T HAVE SUCH A DOCUMENT. WE DON'T LIVE IN SUCH A STATE.

      50% right, 50% wrong. We do live in such a state, it's just that there's no one singular document that we can point to and say "that's it". It's way more complex than that, mostly because the UK is comprised of a mixture of constituent countries that are a thousand years old.

      I'm getting really fed up with people spouting off these misinformed "factoids" that they heard somewhere, like "Oh, Brits aren't citizens, they are subjects". Nonsense. Don't repeat somebody else's opinion you heard on Slashdot as fact. Not only are you wrong, you are actually spreading ignorance.

    • by JaxWeb (715417)
      We have multiple. What are you on about? Don't talk in future!
    • Such a document. [wikipedia.org]
  • scarier in the U.S. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Saturday June 02, 2007 @04:46PM (#19366113) Homepage
    I just got done sitting on a jury for a drug trial. It was a frightening experience. The evidence was so weak and indirect that I couldn't even believe they had charged these two people with a crime. One of them was a transsexual prostitute who was clearly (to me) just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Well, when the jury started to deliberate, there were four of us who all thought it was going to be an open-and-shut not guilty verdict, but we ended up with a hung jury, 8 voting guilty and 4 not guilty. This is the kind of offense that can easily land you in prison for life under California's three strikes laws. And no, you don't have to be a career criminal to fall under three strikes. The prostitute was charged with three felonies from the same night, and that's enough. There's a guy who's in prison for life under three strikes for stealing four chocolate chip cookies. After the trial was over, I visited the place where the cop claimed he'd conducted surveillance from using binoculars. Well, you absolutely cannot see the stuff he claimed to have seen from that location. There are buildings, trees, and walls in the way. I hope these defendants don't have to go to trial again, because next time they might be unlucky in the jury they get.
  • I think cameras would be a good idea if their use could be properly regulated. There shoud be strict limitations on the period that recordings are kept, like perhaps 2 weeks, after which they must be destroyed, unless there is an incident and a specific portion is copied off to an evidence archive or something. So if there is an incident, such as a mugging and it is reported, the cameras overlooking that section is noted, and the recording is found and copied, and in the two weeks after the incident, the re
  • Gordon Brown is now talking about having a written constitution for Britain. It will be interesting to see how it skirts around all the infringements to our rights that have been passed under the Labour government. We had a million people March against the war and the government reacted by effectively banning protests within a half mile of parliament. They tried to pretend it was about removing Brian Haw but that was a pretty lame excuse.

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