UK Wants Surveillance Cameras To Watch 20,000 Worst Families?

from the yikes dept

Slashdot points us to a story that sounds like it has to be a joke/satire, concerning a plan by the UK’s Children’s Secretary, Ed Balls, to spend £400 million to put 20,000 families (the worst families) under constant surveillance including 24-hour CCTV cameras in their homes, and private security guards checking on them from time to time. The cameras will supposedly be used to make sure kids go to bed on time and eat proper meals. Even in the UK, where surveillance cameras are even more popular than in the US, this seems quite extreme. Balls apparently explained:

“This is pretty tough and non-negotiable support for families to get to the root of the problem. There should be Family Intervention Projects in every local authority area because every area has families that need support.”

I’m hopeful that someone in the UK can let us know if this is somehow an exaggeration of what’s going on or if this is accurate, because it honestly seems difficult to believe.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “UK Wants Surveillance Cameras To Watch 20,000 Worst Families?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
59 Comments
Jon B. says:

"Support"

Before reading the quote, I knew “support” would be the excuse. If you’re taking money and help from the government then the government wants to take more control over your life. There are those that truly want the government to provide more “support” for families that need “support”, such as healthcare, welfare, etc. Why are they suddenly surprised when that “support” comes with a cost? Why are people that point this out labeled as crazy?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "Support"

“By that logic, the government should be making sure that the college education I received with government funds didnt involve partying or drinking , as part of the cost of getting support.”

Also they should be monitoring all military and police families too then? These people are 100% supported by the government. What about companies who receive the lions share of their income from governments (either directly or once removed) like Halliburton or General Dynamics . . . using the posters “government support” logic, employees of these companies should be susceptible to government surveillance at least 80% of their lives (in proportion to the amount of their income that comes directly from Taxpayers), or what about industries that receive large government subsidies, again directly like ADM or indirectly like ExxonMobil . . . should employees of these companies also be trading their liberties in proportion to the amount of subsidy that their employer receives?

Jon B. says:

Re: Re: "Support"

There’s a bit of a difference between government employment and what I was getting at regarding welfare. But as I understand, military bases are well guarded.

As for companies, the difference comes up again.. difference between government contracted companies and welfare… and the analogy still applies: the government has taken a very invasive role in the operation of companies that received bailouts, and the personal lives some of their employees.

If you want more government welfare and “support”, then things like this will follow. Hopefully not as extreme, but then again, hopefully the extent of personal “support” in the US doesn’t reach that of the UK.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "Support"

“By that logic, the government should be making sure that the college education I received with government funds didnt involve partying or drinking , as part of the cost of getting support.”

Also they should be monitoring all military and police families too then? These people are 100% supported by the government. What about companies who receive the lions share of their income from governments (either directly or once removed) like Halliburton or General Dynamics . . . using the posters “government support” logic, employees of these companies should be susceptible to government surveillance at least 80% of their lives (in proportion to the amount of their income that comes directly from Taxpayers), or what about industries that receive large government subsidies, again directly like ADM or indirectly like ExxonMobil . . . should employees of these companies also be trading their liberties in proportion to the amount of subsidy that their employer receives?

Big Bro says:

Re: "Support"

Before reading the quote, I knew “support” would be the excuse. If you’re taking money and help from the government then the government wants to take more control over your life.

People accepting gov’t provided fire and police protection should also be monitored. After all, the gov’t needs to make sure that such people aren’t doing things (such as risky behaviors) in their homes that might raise the cost of providing those services.

Why are people that point this out labeled as crazy?

I dunno, makes perfect sense to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Unintended consequences...

I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to believe child porn arrests coming as a result of this (assuming the plan is real and followed through). Even if the cameras are not installed in the bedrooms or bathrooms, all it takes is one young child parading in front of the cameras in the buff to cause a problem.

Nah, gov’t agents are usually exempt. I don’t know about the UK, but in the US the Congress even exempted itself from child porn possession laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: ummm why do you keep parroting tabloids?

I would be careful. I think this tabloids are often used to test the waters for extreme Ideas to see how much Backlash it generates. If there is enough the ideas get toned down to the point where the critical voices are deemed acceptable and it gets implemented.

The original idea didn’t die at that point, far from it. The new regulation will be gradually modified to come closer to the original idea and probably even exceed it without much outrage, because it is much easier to modify an existing regulation with hidden legislation.

Overcast (profile) says:

Re: Re: ummm why do you keep parroting tabloids?

I would be careful. I think this tabloids are often used to test the waters for extreme Ideas to see how much Backlash it generates. If there is enough the ideas get toned down to the point where the critical voices are deemed acceptable and it gets implemented.

Interesting theory – and I suspect that’s quite correct.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: ummm why do you keep parroting tabloids?

The original idea didn’t die at that point, far from it. The new regulation will be gradually modified to come closer to the original idea and probably even exceed it without much outrage, because it is much easier to modify an existing regulation with hidden legislation.

The new idea might be to only use this on the 2,000 worst families instead. See how much more reasonable that is than the original 20,000? Why, it’s only a tenth! Jolly good, let’s pass it then!

interval says:

The Balls

Some British I have spoken to have an appalling lack of suspicion with regard to their own government and don’t quite seem to understand why we are suspicious of ours, so this shit is just par for the course I think. I wouldn’t be surprised if the idea of simply installing cameras in every home is eventually broached and embraced by the nitwits. And Orwell? Well, he was just a bomb-thrower.

Yeah, I giggled at the guy’s name too.

Nice Strawman Arguments (profile) says:

So some of you are saying “I am so dumb I can’t tell the difference between a job from the government and a slob who has their hands out for money from the government.” If you are on the public dole you not only should be on birth control but bring on the cameras. You don’t like it stop taking free handouts from the government.

Jan says:

proud Britons?

I used to live in UK. I lived there for almost 3 years and I loved that country. It used to be free and liberal country and proud nation fighting for their freedom. What’s happened to that country? I cannot believe that – are they not fighting? Are they really going to let their goverment treat them like children? It makes me really sad. They give up so easily. Really… it makes me want to cry.

trollificus (profile) says:

Let’s not be too hard on our British cousins regarding an “appalling lack of suspicion” of their government.

After all, a few sweet words was all that was necessary to persuade the freedom-loving individualists of this country that if an Illinois/Cook County politician is corrupt it doesn’t mean the next is a liar. And if the next is a liar, it doesn’t mean the NEXT is a liar. And if the third IS a liar (and so on through 999)…it doesn’t mean the thousandth (Obama) is a regular say-anything-to-get-elected, do-anything-to-stay-in-power politician.

I’m not saying Obama is better or worse than any other politico, but the gullibility of his supporters surely rivals anything we’ve see in England.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Good point, also let us not forget that Americans are the ones who attacked the wrong country following 911 based on nothing more then some rather transparent lies and simple fear mongering from the Bush Administration. Frankly if any country deserves the prize for most sheeplike populace its the USA circa 2001 – 2007.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I believe the post 9/11 international discussion went something like this:

USA: Holy fucking shit, we’ve been attacked! Who knew something like this could happen (besides the people associated with the CIA shortselling United and American Airlines stock the week before)? Bin Laden says he did it. Let’s get in Afgahnistan and get that fucker!

World: That sucks that you got attacked. Afgahnistan can’t house terrorists. Get in there and get ’em. Hell we’ll even help!

USA: Okay, well we didn’t find Bin Laden. This country is really hard to crack.

World: Yeah, well we kinda told you that would happen. But c’mon, they’re housing terrorists. Get in there and get him.

USA: Yeah, we hear you. That’s why we’re going into Iraq.

World: Ye-wait, what? Iraq? What do they have to do with anything?

USA: They have weapons of mass distruction!

World: Uh, no they don’t. Plus that wasn’t the point of this whole thing, you were going after Bin Laden. Remember that 9/11 thing?

USA: They helped plan 9/11!

World: [forehead slap]

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I would make a slight modification based on how I remember it:

USA: Yeah, we hear you. That’s why we’re going into Iraq.

World: Ye-wait, what? Iraq? What do they have to do with anything?

USA: They have weapons of mass destruction!

World: Really?

USA: Really! We have proof!

World: Oh, great. Let’s see it, then.

USA: Nah, I don’t think so. But trust us, it’s really really good proof.

World: Uh….. is this guy for real?

Nicely done though!

Domesticated Terrorist says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Americans are the ones who attacked the wrong country following 911”

American’s didn’t attack the wrong country, the administration did. We are part of the victims, not the victimizers. A culture of fear was cultivated by the administration allowing them to do anything they wanted to keep us “safe” with little resistance from the general populace, while people that did dissent we’re deemed terrorists by our own country.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“American’s didn’t attack the wrong country, the administration did.”

We live in a democracy (a representative democracy anyway), the Bush Administration got a second term even after blatantly misleading the citizenry (even using known to be false information) and cause the needless death of thousands of American soldiers (a treasonous crime the top members of that administration should rightfully be executed for). I don’t think we as Americans get to claim “innocence” when our elected representatives do horrible things, especially when we are told (the Iraq war was no secret). Also, when we reelect the perpetrators after the crimes, then it gets even harder to claim “ignorance”. The German people were responsible for Hitler and his actions, and we Americans are responsible for Bush and the actions of his administration.

Joseph Young says:

Just another sound bite to sound tough

I don’t believe it’s an exaggeration that a British politician opened his mouth and the words did spout forth. We’ve recently had an opposition party politician suggest that police officers should be allowed to summarily confiscate SIM cards. A similarly stupid idea. Whether CCTV-cameras-in-the-home happens or not is another matter. It’s unlikely to stand public and legal scrutiny and, if so, will be silently dropped. It’s not that uncommon for British politicians to throw about a few ideas and see which ones stick. But, about this specific idea, that Ed Balls could even think it, I’m speechless.

Andy (profile) says:

Disclosure: ex-pat Brit.

I am utterly disgusted by the way that the Labour government (socialist, in government since 1997) has cynically used the “lobster” approach (turn up the heat slowly and it will not realise it’s being boiled alive) to erode liberty in the country.

While there is truth in the notion that ideas are first punted in an extreme form before being scaled back slightly and implemented with the population breathing a sigh of relief, the simple fact is that this government is so obsessed with intervening in people’s lives at levels which should never be accepted and have a disgraceful faith in social engineering.

The usual ploys are to claim a campaign against criminals and terrorists, those two modern bêtes noires. But this really is an incredible proposal even for Labour.

PT (profile) says:

Re: What he said ^^^

Disclosure: also an ex-pat Brit

Something has gone terribly wrong in Britain in the last ten years. Someone mentioned 9/11 above – I think that’s at the root of it. As Tony Blair said on October 2nd, 2001,
“The kaliedoscope has been shaken, the pieces are in flux, soon, they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us.”
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3750847.stm)
And boy, did he ever.

TFP says:

We're No 1

in surveillance. The Chinese even want to come over here and be taught how we do it. Funnily enough, you never hear of people being prosecuted for crimes thanks to all these cameras, it doesn’t seem to have curbed paedophilia, which, if you believe the media in the UK, is rife thru’ every segment of society (except for the very rich and those governing who are apparently unimpeachable), and now, the government are being shown to have turned a blind eye to British nationals (with non white skin) being tortured in places like Pakistan – before being deported to Guanatomo bay. The cameras didn’t help those citizens either.

The Idiot says:

The stupid, it HURRTS!

Well, maybe Mt Balls would volunteer to be one of the first to try this out. Or maybe thye should just nuke Britain’s politicos and have done.

In the last ten years, there have been nearly 1000 offences added to the roll of criminal activity.

CCTV is now more used than the police force.

Pen-pushers get to decide if you’re worthy enough to qualify for anything.

The Welfare state costs £100bn pa.

And we still do a Balls-up better than you Yanks. 😀

Lance (profile) says:

This is Techdirt??

While I appreciate the justified outrage that a story like this generates, I wonder at the commentary I just read through. It seems that some segment of the Digg crowd has hoisted up anchor and sailed into the waters of Techdirt.

I dislike the ideas that were expressed in the original article. What I dislike more is the fact that instead of having a discussion about those ideas, the comments have degenerated into a forum dedicated to the bashing of governments and administrations that are no longer in power.

Before someone responds that I must be a sympathizer of those previous governments and administrations, I would want you to know that I do not support the erosion of personal liberties for the purpose of a perceived safety. Nor do I support the use of military force as the optimal means of achieving resolution to the issues between nations.

In the end, those of you that think the governments of Europe are doing so much better than the US might want to consider looking a bit deeper into the costs associated with their way of life. The reality is that governments by nature will seek to take from you as much as you are willing to give up to them. That includes your money, your freedom, your privacy and possibly your life.

Draw your lines in the sand and then stand up to defend it, lest the government wash away your line and draw a new one for you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This is Techdirt??

What I dislike more is the fact that instead of having a discussion about those ideas, the comments have degenerated into a forum dedicated to the bashing of governments and administrations that are no longer in power.

What I dislike is people trying to control what other people talk about. Yah, some people just hate for history to examined, especially if it results in criticism of Nazi Germany and others. Well, tough. We’ll talk about history if we want to. (And it isn’t degenerate either.)

------- says:

These are sick globalist that are control freaks that are trying to set a precedence to put cameras in everyone’s home and control every facet of your life. The family’s that they want to do it to may indeed have problems but bringing in the government into the family life is a violation of every right to freedom and liberty. Please vote no any and every incineration of personal freedom and personal rights

Anonymous Coward says:

The Louis Vuitton handbags is a sign of taste and fashion,replica handbagsalso the symbol of status in the society and recognition.But the price make you hesitate.
Now we offer the Louis Vuitton Replica handbags with great Imitation and leather and the acceptable price, a[url=http://www.byreplica.com]louis vuitton[/url] Replica designer handbags will attract your neighbours’ admiration in their eyes,louis vuittonand it high quality can be guaranteed. Here you will find[url=http://www.byreplica.com]replica handbags[/url] luxury items are no longer something you ever hesitate going for. To surprised, we always provide Designer Handbags that is perfectly imitated and the vogue is elegant.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...