October 27 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Security Year: 2010 Rating: 5 Hot
The UK police are implementing a new policy which has civil liberty groups in an uproar. Called Project Midas, it aims to put small Blackberry-like fingerprint scanners in the hands of police within the next two years. This will allow police to confirm the identity (7.5 million prints on record and climbing) of people they detain.
Officials claim that the fingerprint records will only be used for identification and all fingerprints obtained by the device will be erased. But after reading about the British bomb-sniffing laundromat I have my doubts.
In fact, the UK Police are notorious for invading the civil liberties of their people. With an estimated 1.5 million security cameras around London alone (along with a probable 4.2 million country-wide), it’s no wonder the British people are feeling a little perturbed.
And it’s not just video monitoring and fingerprints, the UK Police have actively tried to get permission to obtain DNA from people they come into contact with. The March 2008 issue of Harper’s had an interesting reading regarding UK Police Chiefs and their attempt to get DNA information from suspects. These included “buggery” (anal sex), “keeping a disorderly house””, and “wasting police time.” Take note, these are offenses the UK Police mentioned in trying to keep DNA information FOR LIFE. GeneWatch UK mentions that the UK DNA database now covers about 6% of the total population. Compared to .99% of the US and .23% of Canada, this figure is pretty amazing.
I wonder if this willingness to give up personal freedoms in exchange for protection has been embedded in the British culture for centuries. This may explain why they produce such great dystopian stories like 1984 or V for Vendetta. But the real questions is, how far behind them is the US?
Interesting video regarding the UK police state.
Above image I took at the 2003 RNC in NY