News from Airstrip One

When Britain started deploying surveillance cameras everywhere, civil libertarians got worried. No need to panic, they were reassured—the cameras were just to watch criminals, they weren’t going to be spying on law-abiding citizens.

Well, starting next year the government will be using the networked cameras to feed computers running license plate recognition software. They will record the time, date and location of every car they see, and store the information in a big database. The database will be kept for two years.

That’s just the start, too. They hope to link thousands of more cameras in to the system, and extend the database capacity to five years. So soon, any time you travel by car in the UK, the government will have a complete record of your journey.