Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Surveillance and rubbish

The Englishman has been posting up a storm. Having found a RFID enabled bugging device in his wheelie-bin he was understandably miffed at the council for not having told him that this was going to be happening. And I don't suppose anyone is going to believe that this isn't a step towards billing by weight of rubbish produced, a step which will allow the councils to increase their tax take and their take home pay.

Now for an economic liberal, the idea of billing each person by weight of refuse produced is eminently sensible, and it's important not to lose sight of this. The problem will be that, as I've pointed out, the councils will use pay per kilo to squeeze taxpayers. What would be interesting is to find out if they would be able to enforce the use of their own collection services or if private contractors would step in to provide a cheaper service. Presumably if all your rubbish is collected by a third party your bill from the council for refuse collection would be nil.

Personally speaking I have no problem with allowing private sector companies to RFID tag my bin, on the grounds that they would only be using it for something innocuous like trying to sell me stuff - something I can opt out of fairly easily. With the state, the information becomes part of the all-encompassing national identity database - something I consider much more sinister.

Jock Coats has a good post on the subject.