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The UK's premier new media criminologist - on Twitter @criminology4u, facebook and blogging on Criminology in Public and Sports Criminology.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Nick Clegg's contention at PMQ that we are most spied on.

I've just published in Surveillance and Society on the value for money of CCTV (though i have written on other elements of this and can claim to be one the earliest publishers on the topic, 1994) and indeed have just spent this afternoon standing outside the Home Office - my one-time employer - being interviewed for the Politics Show on this.

I actually can't answer the question and i don't think any one can in truth since the total amount of 'spying' is unknown given that much of it will be covert or by-the-by. Even the overt element - CCTV cameras - are the subject of a number of claims. When our life is in danger we may well want to be spied on but might call it intensive care. Worse we may give up our civil liberties yet still get beaten up only to be memorialised months later on Crimewatch and not aided one jot by the impassive eye of the camera. Remember too that like contestants on Big Brother we often want to be watched and that Facebook can be seen in this light. When i joined it i did so knowing that it could be open to spying - indeed that is one of its pleasures - but find it the best way to communicate with students.

So rhetorically fine for Clegg to make such claim, many others do, and he should be safe from point by point rebuttal as a i guess Home Office don't know and MI5/6 won't say.

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