Dan Hodges writes on his blog on the Telegraph web site:
I want to live in a surveillance state. Big Brother, come cast your watchful eye over me and mine. I love you, bro.
Seriously, when I saw the outcry over Government plans to gain access to telephone, email and internet, my initial reaction was: â€œYou mean they canâ€™t do that already?â€
I assumed, somewhat stupidly, that everything we said, typed or viewed was routinely monitored, and then filtered by some giant, super-secret computer tucked away in a heavily guarded subterranean basement of GCHQ: â€œHodges has just said he wants to shoot another Liverpool player, sir.â€ â€œOh, heâ€™s always saying that, Jones. Ignore him.â€
I donâ€™t want less surveillance, I want more of the stuff. My idea of the perfect society is one where every street corner has a CCTV camera, everyone has a nice shiny ID card tucked in their wallet and no extremist can even think of logging onto a dodgy website without an SAS squad abseiling swiftly through their window.
For one thing, I have a relatively benign view of the state. There are some things it does much better than others, and I realise itâ€™s high time it learnt to cut its coat to suit its cloth. But on balance I view the state as a force for good, rather than some giant, menacing monolith, and thatâ€™s especially true when it comes to stopping myself, my family and my friends getting blown up by crazed terrorists.
Dick Vinegar writes on the Guardian web site:
Who would have thought it, the Department of Health is encouraging NHS organisations “to accelerate creation of summary care records (SCRs), with the aim of having them in place for most patients by 2013-14″. And 9m records have already been uploaded. This is a miracle.
At the general election 18 months ago, both Conservatives and LibDems were equating the SCR with the satanic identity card as a monstrous unmanageable database, and were vowing to abolish it. (And when they came to power as the coalition, they did abolish the identity card.) For some years before, Dr Ross Anderson of Cambridge University had been campaigning against the SCR on security grounds, and had won the ear of the British Medical Association. A bit later, Dr Trisha Greenhalgh wrote a magisterial academic report on the SCR’s shortcomings. With the government, academia and the BMA against it, the SCR was clearly doomed.
Yet, here we are, 18 months later, with government ministers saying how important the SCR is to patient care. And 70% of out of hours doctors say it enhances patient safety. What has happened to create this U-turn?
The cynics will say that the SCR project has cost so much that it has to be continued. Another version is that the nay-sayers have not come up with an alternative to the SCR – as nay-sayers habitually fail to do – and so ministers have decided to go with the devil that has already been paid for, rather than launch a whole new scheme from scratch.
Dick Vinegar writes in his “Pateient from Hell” blog at the Guardian:
I sometimes feel I am on my own in arguing that the Summary Care Record, handled properly, would increase my own safety and that of most other patients. I see myself as a gallant little fighter against the serried ranks of clinical SCR-naysayers, security obsessives and 19th century-style doctor/patient confidentiality ostriches.
Tom Peck, writing in the Independent, has collated 29 comments from various pundits about this week’s riots & looting. He reports that David Aaronovitch wrote in The Times:
A certain kind of right-winger fits the riots into the pattern of moral and social decline that she imagines has afflicted British society since the 1950s … Vicars blame materialism. I … rail against identity-obscuring head and facewear and am inclined to demand more CCTV and a rethink of the scrapping of identity cards.
However, Mr Aaronovitch is the only one to say that identity cards might somehow be relevant here.