Not Saussure

September 11, 2006

What sort of people do they think we are?

Filed under: civil liberties, EU, Panic, UK, Uncategorized, War on Terror — notsaussure @ 9:16 pm

What are we to make of this?

Air passengers could have their conversations and movements monitored as work intensifies to design the terrorist-proof aeroplane.

Researchers in Britain and Europe are looking at technology that would see a comprehensive network of microphones and cameras installed throughout the aircraft, including the lavatory, which would be linked to a computer.

Says ‘Catherine Neary, of Bae Systems, one of the British participants in a £24 million European Union project Safety of Aircraft in Future European Environment,’

“Passengers are not being snooped on by humans, but by machines which will process the data, which would not be stored after the flight unless there is an incident,”

“There are likely to be cameras and microphones in the toilet, because that is where terrorists go to assemble bombs.” The camera could also be trained to detect seemingly harmless items being left in aircraft lavatories that could later be assembled to make a lethal device.

“If people know they will be safer, they will be happy to accept the sensors, but we are considering the legal implications of this.”

I’m sorry, but if Catherine Neary, Bae Systems and the European Union think I’m going to be happy to accept people sticking cameras and microphones in a loo I’m going to be using on the off chance someone might assemble a bomb in there, they’re bonkers. They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security, as Benjamin Franklin was so fond of remarking, and I’m would have regarded the liberty to take a crap undisturbed by cameras and microphones as a pretty essential one.

As the Telegraph editorialist rightly observes, of the ban on musicians taking their valuable and fragile string instruments on planes as hand luggage,

If this situation goes on, announced conductor Mark Elder at the Last Night of the Proms, he will by next year be reduced to presenting “Concerto for Laptop and Orchestra”. If the price of freedom is an end to Fantasia on British Sea Songs, it is a price that should not be paid.

This is another such price.

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