Editor’s Note: A number of readers have challenged the accuracy of this story (see their comments below). We link below to a Telegraph article, but most blogs reference the same story in the Daily Express, a conservative tabloid. Reader memebreak writes, “Apparently, in very extreme cases, ‘problem families’ may be given the option to move from their (often state funded) homes to ‘core residential units’ for 24 hour support and supervision, but we’re not talking about 20,000 famlies, and this is very different from the Express report of the government planning to put ‘20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV supervision in their own homes.’ ”
With millions of cameras watching its citizens’ every move, Britain is already one of the world’s leading surveillance states. Now the government wants to go even further, putting cameras in 20,000 private homes “to make sure children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals,” reports the Telegraph.
The households chosen for this gross violation of privacy will only be the most “shameless,” of course. “Sin bins,” they’re calling them. We don’t want to defend abusive or negligent parents, but “intensive 24-hour supervision” of government-disapproved households is just plain creepy.
How fitting for the homeland of Jeremy Bentham and George Orwell.
Time to dust off “Discipline and Punish.”
Under the Government scheme, members of “Shameless” families are given intensive 24-hour supervision to make sure children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.
Parents are also given help to stop them leading dysfunctional lives and to combat drug or alcohol addiction.
Around 2,000 families have gone through Family Intervention Projects, but ministers intend to increase its scope to 20,000 more in the next two years – each costing between £5,000 and £20,000.
Screenshot of "Telescreens" from the film "Nineteen Eighty-Four"
Our modern surveillance states may not look like this ominous vision from the film version of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” above. But the state’s use of looking to shape human behavior is only growing more obvious.