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UK Plans To Monitor 20,000 Families' Homes Via CCTV 693

Posted by timothy
from the words-fail-but-pictures-deliver dept.
metrix007 points out a story in the Sunday Express with more surveillance-camera madness from the UK, where the government now wants to place 20,000 CCTV cameras to monitor families ("the worst families in England") within their own homes, to make sure that "kids go to bed on time and eat healthy meals and the like. This is going too far, and hopefully will not pass. Where will it end?"
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UK Plans To Monitor 20,000 Families' Homes Via CCTV

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  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:07AM (#28915199) Homepage Journal

    I spoke to one of my British immigrant friends about the big brother attitude in England, saying I understand it's financially motivated in the U.S., but I couldn't see what motivated it there. He said a large portion of the population has absolutely no sense of personal responsibility and wants some one else (the government) to handle that for them. Of course this isn't everyone.

    Let's look at history and see how British citizens who didn't agree with the crown acted and what came of it:

    Scotland - William Wallace. They fought a good fight but ultimately failed. They made their point and over time, since people allowed the fight to die with him, it didn't matter.

    Quakers, Puritans, other settlers. - Fled to the New World to escape the mainland oppression only to experience oppression by remote control. They eventually rebelled, established independence and we now have the United States. Some time later Canada decided to break free also - a little more peacefully and they still have the Queen on their money. I wouldn't.

    It's time for the English citizens to have a civil war. They've already screwed up, they've let their government take their guns away, so it's going to be difficult, but I'm sure they can manage. If enough of the populace proves they're willing to go to war with rakes and shovels it may just get enough attention to prove to the government they're serious and the government may start listening. I'm sure it would only take a few government officials dieing during riots and stealth assassination missions before they agree to consider that 1984 wasn't meant as an instruction manual.

    It's very important that the people declare war and actually send over a document declaring such, if they don't it's no better than gang terrorism.

    The U.S. proved such a thing can work.

  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jurily (900488) <[jurily] [at] [gmail.com]> on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:27AM (#28915273)

    After reading the article, here are my thoughts:

    1. This is not something you can vote on, or discuss. Some goverment official just said "Hey, I have an idea, here's 400 million pounds, go implement it."
    2. Youngsters don't get into crime because they have a chaotic family life. They do it, because it's cool, they have too much free time, and they live in a neutered society. They simply have no outlet for violence, which is a pretty basic instinct if you think about it (ever seen a little boy who just starts to walk? The first thing he does is picking up a stick and beating stuff with it).

  • Good! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:33AM (#28915295)

    I know your all going to compare it to 1984, say this is a big brother police state, but to be honest, if you live on an area affected by youths who make you terrified to go outside, who intimidate you if you do, who will not hesitate to key your car, smash in it's windows or even set it on fire, who make it the norm to set of fireworks in the street and even post them through letter boxes, then you wouldn't be moaning about their human rights.

  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FourthAge (1377519) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:53AM (#28915365) Journal

    It has to start somewhere.

    I live in Britain and I hate those white-trash types. "Chavs", we call them. Funded by state benefits, which become generous when you include the free housing that they live in, the chavs do no work other than producing children, who then live chaotic and deeply miserable lives. Sometimes these children appear in the media, normally when they've been murdered (Baby P) or kidnapped (Shannon Matthews) by their own families; or perhaps when they're a bit older and have entered the petty crime lifestyles of their parents. There is no escape from the chav ghetto.

    I always remind people that the welfare state created this problem. By taking away the need to work, the need for self-improvement, it locked these people into their lifestyle. The purpose of welfare is to keep the poor poor, and thus ensure that there will always be jobs for Socialist politicians, who can offer to solve the problem. Not in an 1830s Poor Law sense, i.e. "There are no benefits-- get a job or go in the workhouse", but in the Soviet style, with surveillance technology to keep them in line.

    It has to start somewhere. There's a short step between a welfare state and a totalitarian state, because eventually the state has to control who gets benefits and how they are spent. First they came for the chavs. The rest of us are next.

  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by peragrin (659227) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:07AM (#28915415)

    welfare state created them that is total bullshit.

    Without a welfare state they still wouldn't work, or care for their kids, or any of that and the entire family would be even worse off stealing for food, clothes and everything else. What people like to think that it is the government fault however some people are just lazy and they still wouldn't do anything if they had to. The only way to make that group actually work is to force them to go to work. and I do mean Force as those types of people are so lazy that they can't hold a normal job on their own anyways.They won't show up on time, etc.

    Just because they accept state welfare doesn't make them lazy, they are on welfare because they are lazy. Learn the difference. as a work chain gang will be the only way to get them to do anything on time.

    Welfare keeps them for being even worse off. What is needed is a way to tie welfare into a real job paycheck so you can't get one with out the other. Though that too will create other problems.

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:07AM (#28915417)

    We have our problems, too.

    We just have the comfort of knowing that we live on the edges of ridiculously huge tracts of unpopulated, un-cleared wilderness bigger than most European countries into which we can run off and live, (and conduct guerrilla warfare from), should things get really sticky. Our brand of political asshole remains vaguely aware of this fact. I think that's partly why there seems to be a campaign afoot to ensure that everybody turns into a fat, lazy, ignorant, TV-watching, video-gaming idiot. They run slower, have fewer hours in the day to think, and in the end, simply put up with a lot more bullshit.

    A hunter isn't scared of the same things everybody else is, because s/he knows that should society crumble, survival isn't a matter of how many digits are recorded after one's name in the local bank machine.

    -FL

  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Saint Stephen (19450) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:08AM (#28915419) Homepage Journal

    The ironic thing is the original definition of Proletariat or "Prole" in 1984 in Latin were people who offered no benefit to the state other than raising children. The Proles didn't have Big Brother in their homes, and Winston longed to live like them. Somebody should tell the UK they're not doing it right :-)

  • by Threni (635302) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:10AM (#28915427)

    Exactly. You have to understand how violent England has become in the last 25 years, and how many completely worthless people exist. I went to a baseball game in Pittsburgh a few years ago, and was amused to see about 10 police from when I left where I was staying, getting to the stadium, and back home again. You'd probably see a group of more than 10 police at the the nearest tube station when there's a football game in the UK. I'm concerned about my liberties in terms of net access, email, right to take photos etc, but if there's some sort of clamp down on the families producing criminals and lowlife who are just going to spend their entire lives living on benefits provided by my tax; stealing my car; making *every* town in the UK a loud, dangourous, smashed up place between 10pm and 2am (when pubs close) then I'm 100% behind it.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:33AM (#28915551) Journal
    I take it you only read the inflammatory article from the Express (for US readers: Think Fox News with more breasts and less journalistic integrity), rather than anything actually containing facts. You can find the government's description of the scheme [respect.gov.uk] online. Notice that nothing in this is compulsory. It is an option presented to families as an alternative to being prosecuted. If they think they have done nothing to warrant it, or that a potential custodial sentence would be a better choice, then they are welcome to take that option. Note also that the 24-hour intervention is described as the most extreme case here (while it's the only part of the scheme described in the Express article, with the assumption that it will be applied to all of the 20,000 families).
  • by Artifakt (700173) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:46AM (#28915623)

    Yes, there's many times when the kids only chance is to get them into a normal home environment. If the society can come up with enough good foster parents, or ways to find more stable relatives and get them to take in the grandkids, nephews or whatever, this is frequently the best option. Unfortunately, taking the existing kids away doesn't stop people from having new kids. That would most probably require compulsory sterilization in most cases. There we are, several slips farther down the slippery slope many of us fear.
          What's really needed is firstly, well defined standards for when to start controlling people's lives. If the society is as tough on major screwing up for the people whose jobs are to manage programs or spot battered kids, as it is for the people we're considering monitoring, it has some chance of working. Cut bad cops lots of slack, ignore teachers who have lost all interest in actually teaching, reelect politicians who promise to clean up the mess and fail time and again, and nobody at the bottom will accept the authority of the society to control even the worst behavior.
          Secondly, you have to have carrots, not just sticks. Orwell described a hellish situation, but a sure way to move towards just what he described is to rely only on negative reinforcement. If the system only has money to watch the most screwed up people in public housing, but none to provide jobs for the kids who stay in school, that's precisely what moves the whole society towards 1984. One thing that is working fairly well in the US, is those places where people get better public housing if they keep the kids in school, get at least part time jobs, and keep out of the court system. Quite a few states have programs where people get a chance to save something towards owning a home, and eventually getting out of the welfare system entirely.
          Thirdly, there's the issue of criteria. Parent A drinks and beats his kids. Parent B drinks but doesn't beat his kids, Parent C doesn't drink or beat his kids. (Maybe there's a Parent D who doesn't drink, but beats his kids anyway, maybe those are rare as hen's teeth in the real situation). If the social programs assume that there's something about being a lower class parent, and all parents caught drinking should automatically be presumed to also beat their kids, (or worse, that all of them beat their kids even if they haven't been caught at anything else yet), there's that negative heavy reinforcement again, or at least wasted resources.

  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OrangeCatholic (1495411) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @08:09AM (#28915743)
    The OP is talking about why affluent children get into crime. Sure, if you're a crack addict, and your kids grow up to be car thieves, no harm no foul.

    But if you went to Harvard, and your rich, white kids grow up to be heroin addicts, it means you did something wrong.
  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iserlohn (49556) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @08:09AM (#28915749) Homepage

    There will always be a problem with non-productive members of society. The answer to that problem is much more nuanced.

    Your argument along the lines of - "first they came fore the Jews", is nonsensical. The definition of a state revolves around the responsibility it has to it's subjects. The state is always responsible for at least some sort of welfare to its people, whether it is in the form of keeping order, providing infrastructure and emergency response or maintaining national security.

    The program in question is not restricting individual rights for arbitrary or political ends, but it is an extension of the criminal justice system, in a social engineering capacity. Now, I do not support the use of such programs as I do not believe they are effective, but it is disingenuous to claim that this is a erosion of civil liberties.

    There are issues that are much more importance this this, including the extension of the 28-day detention for terror suspects without charge, in effect a suspension of Habeas Corpus by the state. That is stuff we should be focusing on with regards to civil liberties, and there is where our outrage should lie.

    This argument against this program should be cost and benefit to society. How much are we actually spending on this program and how much benefit does it give us.

  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @08:22AM (#28915829)

    You essentially rephrased the "think of the children" argument. And it still isn't morally right.

    On top of that, it probably won't work, are they going to put 20000 individual social workers in front of the screens to watch everything? As soon as those kids discover they get away with almost everything, it's back to square one.

    But what should society do if mum doesn't care?

    What is wrong with community service for the mum/kid?

  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @08:40AM (#28915961) Journal

    Reason Magazine calculated the total benefits an unemployed U.S. person receives (food stamps, free housing, et cetera) is equivalent to an $11 an hour job, with some states like California going as high as $20 an hour.

    They argued since the average person is not stupid, they recognize that they are better-off remaining unemployed rather than take a "cut in pay" working for $7 at Walmart or McDonalds.

  • by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @09:27AM (#28916317) Homepage
    Reminds me of a story my father, who grew up in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s, told me about a government proposal to put baths in every home. One of the ministers objected to it because the poor would 'just use it to store coal.' Thankfully, that man wasn't listened to.
  • by Hojima (1228978) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @09:52AM (#28916519)

    There are currently no laws stating that minors must wear clothes inside the house, so tell them not to. Then, the government records CP and they all burn at the stake!! It's flawless!!

  • by rohan972 (880586) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:54AM (#28916967)

    We never had guns in the first place. When handguns were finally outlawed, it affected only a few thousand people out of sixty-odd million. As far as I know the mainland UK has never had a culture of individual gun ownership.

    I don't know, what do you think of this article:
    http://www.thesconce.com/ukreport.html [thesconce.com]
    In a material sense, Britain today has much less of a "gun culture" than at any time in its recent history. A century ago, the possession and carrying of firearms was perfectly normal here. Firearms were sold without licence in gunshops and ironmongers in virtually every town in the country, and grand department stores such as Selfridge's even offered customers an in-house range. The market was not just for sporting guns; there was a thriving domestic industry producing pocket pistols and revolvers, and an extensive import trade in the cheap handguns that today would be called "Saturday Night Specials." Conan Doyle's Dr. Watson, dropping a revolver in his pocket before going out about town, illustrates a real commonplace of that time. Beatrix Potters' journal records a discussion at a small country hotel in Yorkshire, where it turned out that only one of the eight or nine guests was not carrying a revolver.

    Keep in mind that the right to bear arms as a protection in a "Bill of Rights" was copied by the US from England, as was the various US "Castle Doctrine" laws.

  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @12:12PM (#28917633)

    In '97 the city of Antwerp started the "Witte Tornados" (White Tornadoes - Dutch isn't that hard) keeping the city clean and providing entry level jobs for people that would otherwise be probably unemployed and living of social benefits. About 150 of them.

    That's 150 persons with increased self esteem.

    That's 150 persons having a positive contribution instead of being a liability.

    That's about 6000 hours of extra cleaning per month - and it has the added effect that it encourages people to not throw things on the street with all the rest of the litter.

    If you would do the same with those problem children/mums that might be a similar positive experience? (minus that being an actual job) you don't have to let go one of the 150...

    But then again, you probably just went for a joke?

  • by CptNerd (455084) <adiseker@lexonia.net> on Sunday August 02, 2009 @12:45PM (#28917889) Homepage

    I wonder if they'll have CCTV cameras in the bathrooms...

    "It's a fair cop..."

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:00PM (#28920309) Journal
    If you read the actual source, they are not violating the privacy of individuals in their own home, they are moving them in to a monitored unit. People are not coming around and putting cameras in your house. This is a step down from taking the children into care. Rather than break up families, they are moving the entire family (who is already in state-funded housing) into a dedicated monitoring unit where they can protect the children without having to take them away from their parents. And, you will note that the Express conveniently failed to mention, that the 24-hour monitoring (which is more likely to be done in person than by CCTV) is the most invasive of three tiers, and not the one that the vast majority of these 20,000 families will be experiencing. It's a last-ditch effort before taking the children into care.

    And now you're citing the Telegraph? Slightly better than the Express, but only slightly. Original research by the Telegraph, with no published methodology and no published source data is likely to be about as accurate as pulling a number out of your arse (well, probably slightly less accurate since this is the Telegraph). And even with this 'source' you'll note that they are counting private cameras and that this scary 3,000 figure counts any time anyone records personal information about you. Slashdot has my email address, so every post here would count. Supermarket purchases with loyalty cards and any purchase with a credit card count towards this total. You'd be hard pressed to spend an afternoon in any busy city without being recorded a few hundred times, and if you connect to the Internet then you certainly will. My mail client polls my mail server every minute for new mails. This means that every hour I add 60 to my total because my mail server is adding a line to the mail log file recording my username and IP address. Actually, since I do this with three email accounts, I get to add 180/hour to this total. That puts me at well over 3,000 per week without leaving my house.

  • by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:50PM (#28922661)
    Baloney. The vast majority of bums and destitute I've talk to (and that being a lot as I do a lot of volunteer work, simply don't want to work for anything and would rather be poor and lazy than work a little and get out of poverty. Many of them are career criminals as the only form of work they seem to tolerate is theft.

    I'm going to be modded as flamebait for this, but it is the honest truth about those I've worked with. I like them (most at least) and I pity them, but I also am honest about why they are the way they are.
  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheNarrator (200498) on Monday August 03, 2009 @02:52AM (#28923757)
    I read Homage to Catalonia, which is Orwell's account of fighting with the POUM forces. The POUM were anarchist communists. They were actively underminded by the Stalin backed communists and less favored by the Stalinists than even Franco's forces. I think 1984 was Orwell's attempt to describe what would happen if Stalinism, as he had come into contact with it in Spain and other places, took over the world.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 03, 2009 @05:16AM (#28924449)
    In Manchester, where the term Scally is used in place of Chav, and the rest of the North the clothes they wear are a uniform. How do you tell the difference between 4 or 5 malnourished pasty white skin heads all dressed completely in dirty black track suits wearing black golf gloves and their trousers tucked into their socks? Its pretty difficult especially when they move around like velocoraptors. They could have had off with half the contents of your shop while you are trying to watch one of them.

    All of the clothing has a purpose, it has evolved, it is not for show! The golf gloves are thin and are ideal for shop lifting, the trousers tucked in socks mean you can throw things, such as small high value items, down your trousers and they don't fall out of the bottom and the almost identical nature of the clothes and hair cut means its difficult to spot one of them out of a group. The clothing while loose is not gansta baggy, this means its difficult to know where the body itself is, which is useful when your are in a fight (very much like samaurai) but also means you can get over a barbed wire fence without too much difficulty. They also don't wear their trousers round their arse as this would hinder legging it.

    In an urban jungle they are a quite a developed scavenger.

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