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Britain Worried About Excessive Surveillance

Angus Reid
Monday, December 11, 2006

Many Britons are concerned about the increased use of cameras and biometrics in their country, according to a poll by YouGov published in the Daily Telegraph. 79 per cent of respondents believe the country can accurately be described as a surveillance society.

In 2004, home secretary David Blunkett strongly campaigned in favour of a national identity card system. The plan contemplates setting up a database that would contain the fingerprints and/or eye scan of every single person in Britain. The government estimates that the full implementation of the plan will cost $10.5 billion U.S. over the next 10 years.

In November, British information commissioner Richard Thomas discussed the current state of affairs, saying, "Two years ago I warned that we were in danger of sleepwalking into a surveillance society. Today I fear that we are in fact waking up to a surveillance society that is already all around us."

Polling Data

Because of the increased use of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, speed cameras, biometric passports, fingerprinting and so forth, Britain is increasingly being described as a ‘surveillance society’. Do you think that is, on balance, an accurate description or not?

Yes, it is an accurate description
79%

No, it isn’t an accurate description
16%

Don’t know
5%

Source: YouGov / Daily Telegraph
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,979 British adults, conducted from Nov. 28 to Nov. 30. 2006. No margin of error was provided.

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