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Is Big Brother watching You?

This weekend, I was listening to the radio, and happened upon a police officer making a strong defense of the fact that the police had retained more than 24,000 DNA samples from juveniles who had never been convicted, charged with an offense or cautioned. (You can find the BBC's take on this here.) Of course, this will also be going on for adults who happen to have come into contact with the police in a similar manner.

The Minister responsible mouthed platitudes that 'there are safeguards in place'. The database is being built up because the Police are allowed – at their discretion – to hold this data after enquiries, no matter what the outcome is. Part of the justification given is the fact that it's needed for the 'War on Terror'. I suppose that DNA evidence would help identify a juvenile suicide bomber's body parts, but it isn't going to stop the attack. Decent human-intelligence is needed for that. Isn't this just a stealth way of building a national database of DNA without a review of the civil liberties questions involved?

Let's add another twist. It's already recognised that the UK is one of the heaviest users of CCTV, and on top of this there is a lot of working going on on facial recognition (examples here and here) to improve the ability to track and identify people. On top of this, we've now got a new proposed road pricing system being developed that will allow the government to track the location of every vehicle at any time. (Here.)

Am I getting paranoid, or is it possible that Orwell's 1984 is finally starting to come true with new technological development spearing on the changes? Is "Big Brother" starting to watch us all?

And the scary thing is that most of the UK political parties see this a a good thing.