The Surveillance Society Does Not Work



By Mick Meaney — RINF | Costing in excess of billions of pounds each year, every single area of the British surveillance society has been proven ill effective when dealing with crime, fraud and terrorism — the very reasons government officials implement such measures.

Which begs the question: How can the Government justify such spending when it also imposes an increasing risk to our personal freedom and privacy? What is more, as current technology has failed to live up to the expectations of the British Government they still have widespread plans to advance citizen surveillance like we have never seen before.

Passport Interrogations

The latest statistics are cause for concern. A procedure introduced in 2007 made it compulsory for all passport applicants to attend face-to-face interviews.

We were told this was a necessary measure in fraud prevention but out of 90,000 interviewees not a single criminal had been caught. The cost of the network has run into the hundreds of millions.

DNA Database

More statistics show the DNA database, which contains the details of over one million innocent people, has almost zero effect in solving crimes. On average just 1 in every 800 crimes will be solved and the cost runs into the millions, turning the innocent into suspects. Each DNA sample added to the database cost £3,575 – last year the database held 660,000 samples.

Phil Booth of NO2ID said: “This utterly blows away the myth that the DNA database is the perfect detection tool. It is, in fact, creating-a nation of suspects.”

The British DNA database contains 4.5 million samples and is the largest in the world yet it does not hold the information of terrorist suspects or serious offenders currently in jail.

Police across the EU can access the database creating what civil liberty advocates call a ‘Big Brother Europe’.


Just this week it was revealed that only 3% of London street robberies were solved using CCTV. Britain is the most monitored country in the world with an average of one CCTV per ever 14 people.

“Billions of pounds has been spent on kit, but no thought has gone into how the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court. It’s been an utter fiasco: only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV. There’s no fear of CCTV. Why don’t people fear it? [They think] the cameras are not working,” said Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville.

Still the development of a national facial recognition CCTV database continues at the taxpayer’s expense.


What is more worrying still is the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), a spy law that was introduced in 2000 which gives the police and security services the power to monitor people and their communications. In 2002 the act was extended to include local councils allowing them to commit extensive surveillance of its citizens.

The law was introduced to catch terrorists but is currently being used to stop benefit cheats, anti-social behaviour, graffiti and even poor parking.

The abuse of Government authority is abundantly clear as our privacy and freedoms are needlessly stripped way while the taxpayer is forced to pay for technology which fails to protect us from criminals or terrorists.

A surveillance society simply does not work.


    Ok we all knew this before they put them up now it's been proved it doesn't work when are they going to take them all down again,I hope everyone wont mind if I dont hold my breath.

  • Mick Meaney

    I don't expect the cameras will be taken down, the surveillance society is like a juganaut without good reason. Trying to be balanced about it, I understand and support the need to prevent terrorist attacks. I assume most people feel the same which is why these methods have been tolerated but the amount that is being spent on ill effective technology and the abuse of powers like RIPA needs to be highlighted.

  • George Orwell

    War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength!

    EngSoc FTW!

  • Charlie Castelnau

    I wonder if anyone believes that "terrorism" was anything other than an excuse to use such this juggernaut of spy equipment / data to keep watch over the masses. Indeed when it comes to discussing the horrific effects of "terrorism" I would venture to suggest that the UK (and US of course) are the biggest pots that ever called the kettles black – except that UK & US terrorism is generally called as "pre-emptive defence", which sounds much nicer, though murders more innocent people.