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L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE

Number 845, November 1, 2015



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The Perils of State Surveillance
by Sean Gabb
sean@libertarian.co.uk

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Speech to the Traditional Britain Group 24th October 2015

Here is an audio recording made on my mobile telephone and then tarted up in Audacity. A better version will be available soon, but this will do for the moment. [MP3]

I argue as follows:

  • I was a techno-pessimist in the mid-1990s. I thought that, in spite of many collateral advantages, the IT revolution would enable states to gather and use vast amounts of information, and that this would be used to enslave us.
  • This fear seems to be confirmed by the Government's current push to get access to all electronic data and to spy on us.
  • The push is excused by the need to protect us from the Moslems.
  • But the Moslems are not a problem at all as great as Sinn Fein/IRA used to be. Islamic terrorism in this country has produced a body count trifling set against the 3,500 killed in the Sin Fei/IRA insurrection. Every other difference is in favour of the Moslems - though there are other problems here that may need addressing in due course.
  • Nor will universal surveillance protect us from terrorism. That needs traditional policing.
  • The scale of surveillance currently demanded by the British State will carry us into a police state—this being better defined by the fact of control than any mode of enforcement.
  • To be watched is to be controlled. When people are watched in all they do, they will mostly obey without actual threat of punishment.
  • On the other hand, while there are dangers, the IT Revolution has given us powerful tools of resistance. We need to use these if we want to be free.
  • Also, the kind of police state we are getting is based on fear not of torture or death, but of disapproval and low-level persecution. If we want to be free, all we need is to find a collective backbone and stop behaving like girlie-men.


Sean Gabb is Director, The Libertarian Alliance (Recognised by HMRC as an educational charity for tax purposes)
sean@libertarian.co.uk
Tel: 07956 472 199
Skype: seangabb
Postal Address: Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, London W1J 6HL, England
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