The Perils of State Surveillance, by Sean Gabb

The Perils of State Surveillance
by Sean Gabb
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.

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.


  1. 1. Yes – the failure of crime figures (not the same as crime necessarily) to go up in the recent recession may be due to the prevalance of security cameras. 2. Yes, the fear of harassment/career death owing to unnecessary comments made on the Tube that someone has captured on a phone and put on Youtube far outranks any real fear of imprisonment as such. To a certain extent, the policing system focuses on harassment of dissenters — many of these lawsuits are dropped if you don’t give in, but not everyone has the iron constitution to resist demands to plead guilty stretching for months while the children are taken away…

    • This is the way it is done. I am currently advising a local family that has been broken-apart by this method. Their plight came to me via the “local media”, who had been dining out on the people and eating them for a couple of weeks which was enough to ruin their lives.

      I spotted it because I have, historically, taught their children for some years. Fortunately they are a strong family and the husband and wife support each other, and (from advice from me) got their children away to other places far away very fast.

  2. Surely the worst part of all this surveillance is that most crime victims know that it will never be used to solve the crime, recover their lost property, or punish the perpetrator. The cameras are a perpetual insult to people who are in a state of both constant surveillance and constant fear of crime – a reminder of how worthless they are in the eyes of the state.

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