Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Orwell Is Turning Over In His Grave

A New British Survey Right Out of Orwell's Worst Nightmares
Think the privacy breaches in the U.S. are bad? Then the U.K.'s intrusions into your private life are downright appalling. Take this ridiculous new initiative from the U.K. Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The intrepid bureaucrats at the ONS have devised a new survey to collect the most intimate details of British citizens' sex lives. They're fanning out across the United Kingdom to make random visits to over 200,000 homes. The survey has 2,000 questions about your sex life. (No, that's not a misprint.)
The cost of this survey comes to a little under US$7 million annually. And the benefits? Well, the ONS will be able to release revealing snapshots of British sexual practices. For example, they just issued a press release that said one in eight women between the ages of 16 and 50 and one in six men under 70 had not had sex in the past year.
Once you answer the 2,000-question survey, there won't be much of anything private in your life if you live in the United Kingdom. The government knows you name, your address, where you work, your phone numbers, your national insurance number, and your bank account numbers. It also has the details of your mortgage, credit rating, car registration, and any arrests and convictions you have on file. Through a nationwide network of closed circuit cameras, officials can follow you pretty much anywhere you go.
And now, thanks to this survey, that includes your bedroom.
Can the Brits top this? I don't see how - but I'll be watching, too. And I'll be right here telling you how you can avoid these appalling intrusions into your life.

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