Following my post yesterday, comes this excellent post by Henry Porter on Our Kingdom. Writing about the installation of 169 ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras, 49 CCTV cameras and 72 "covert" cameras in two predominately Muslim areas in Birmingham, one of which was Sparkbrook, by West Midlands Police, Porter continues:
"But the really significant point is that the spying network was solely authorised by a committee in ACPO, the Association of Chief Police Officers, which some of you will know is still private company and therefore safe from Freedom of Information requests..........Operation Champion, as it was known, has no statutory authority; there was to be no independent oversight of the system; and of course it was never discussed in Parliament."
It is abhorrent in what is supposed to be a free society, that (i) a private company can install a surveillance system without the permission of Parliament; and, more importantly, (ii) that the government of the day considered it permissible for the forces of law & order to create such an organisation as ACPO within their midst. One might ask "Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes" - which translates, loosely, as "Who watches the watchers"; but it must also immediately be asked: what is the point of the original question.
It is perfectly possible for the people to 'watch' the government of the day, yet when that government deliberately hides information from the people, 'watching' becomes extremely difficult. Even when 'malpractice' on the part of government is discovered, it is met with denial, cover-up and a refusal to release whatever information is necessary to enable the people to know the truth. (Kelly? Iraq War? Cost/Benefit Analysis of EU membership?)
We surely are now in an age where we should fear 'government' - and that can only lead to 'democratised tyranny', a state that some would argue we have already entered. It is a state in which we will remain until a time comes whereby we, the people, reinstate that basic principle of any true democracy, which is government by the people.