Indian Politician Plans To Install Surveillance Cameras In His Ministers' Homes And Offices

from the do-as-you-would-be-done-by dept

Recently, Tim noted that, for some strange reason, politicians don’t like having the same level of surveillance applied to them as they wish to inflict on the public. Here’s a nice case from the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India, found via Evgeny Morozov, where politicians aren’t being given any choice:

UP [Uttar Pradesh] chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has decided to install CCTV cameras at the residences and camp offices of all the ministers in his cabinet.

As usual, the politicians are up in arms:

But a minister told Mail Today on the condition of anonymity that many of his colleagues including Raja Ram Pandey, khadi and village industry minister, Paras Nath Yadav, animal husbandry minister, Awadhesh Prasad, social welfare minister and Durga Prasad Yadav, stamp and registration minister, have opposed it.

The reasoning behind the move is interesting:

‘the CM [Chief Minister] found the idea exciting mostly because he could boast of this action during Lok Sabha election campaign to claim that his ministers were observing complete transparency in their activities,’ a source close to the CM said.

It’s clear from this that there are some ulterior political motives behind this extreme form of governmental transparency. But equally, assuming that Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister goes through with his plans, there’s no denying that it would give politicians a unique insight into the reality of surveillance, and that can’t be bad thing.

Indeed, what we need is a general rule that politicians anywhere who are contemplating increased snooping on their citizens must be put under 24×7 surveillance in their homes and offices before they are allowed to enact any such laws. If that were the case, I predict their enthusiasm for spying might well evaporate.

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Comments on “Indian Politician Plans To Install Surveillance Cameras In His Ministers' Homes And Offices”

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out_of_the_blue says:

Gov't workers need to lose rights, not gain privileges.

It’s actually WELL-established common law that when you “enlist” in (or are drafted into) the military, you give up certain rights, such as not be maimed or die for the good of the tribe. It’s not talked up much for obvious reasons, but that’s the reality.

So I hold that when anyone goes into gov’t, elected or employed, they should lose some part of rights of the citizens whom they’re supposed to be serving. We The People need to be able to keep watch on known power-mad thieves. They should most of all lose the right to presumption of innocence for any officical act, and have to PROVE themselves innocent. — I’d make gov’t work — I mean shirking — undesirable, and might even have to institute a draft to provide its (few) necessary services.

abc gum says:

Re: Gov't workers need to lose rights, not gain privileges.

Of course this would not apply to those in the higher echelons of government due to security reasons. It would only be mandatory for those occupying the lower rungs of the government ladder – you know – the peons, the ones who get wet from all that trickle down activity.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Gov't workers need to lose rights, not gain privileges.

The difference between military service, and governmental service though is the ‘right not to be ordered into danger’ is one that has to be revoked for the former, otherwise it just wouldn’t work, so in that case it makes sense that enlisting costs you some rights.

I think the better way to handle politicians would be to take away some of the prestige and special rights they gain. If it’s seen, and treated as, less as one step short of nobility, and more as what it is supposed to be, namely serving the public, that right there would weed out a number of those that should never be put in a position of power.

Also, as I’ve noted in another comment, if it was required that any law with a potential negative impact had, as it’s first targets the ones passing it, that would pretty much guarantee that politicians would be a lot more careful about passing overreaching laws, since they would know they would be affected first.

Anonymous Coward says:

To give a little more insight regarding the reason behind this move – the state of UP is one of the most corrupt states of India, and on top of that, most of its politicians are CRIMINALS (murder, kidnapping, rape, etc., you name it and you will find any or all of these adjectives attached with their names).

So this move can be viewed as one for gaining publicity (rather a cheap one coz everyone knows the outcome).

Anonymous Coward says:

What an absolute disaster in the making. Has it ever occurred to minister Akhilesh Yadav that he will not install these without them being known they are there?

If you planned to break the law and knew these devices were there to record it, what ever would you do? First thing that occurs to me is to be elsewhere out of the watchful eye when actually doing the planning and execution.

This is the same great idea that was done for congress with cameras. You know, let the public see how its’ done. What happens? When it gets sticky as the last time, Boehner decides to pull the plug during the live camera time so as not to record the ‘evidence’ of being caught on camera and in doing so totally defeating the purpose the cameras were put there for in the first place.

It is now used to orate to the public but it is not a serious tool to educate the public in the workings of congress.

Pray tell, how will this be any different?

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