Tag Archives: Embarrassment

1984? The Nanny State? I’m All For It

The UK is taking its network of 4.2 million CCTV cameras a step further: disembodied recorded voices haranguing errant citizens via loudspeaker. It sounds awful, I know, but every time I visit my home town (one of the 20 towns where the system will be installed) I’m horrified at the behaviour and disregard for public facilities. So while the idea of children’s voices barking out instructions across Abington Street might seem more like Orwell or Pol Pot than tranquil England, if it stops people behaving badly in public, so be it.

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

The home secretary said competitions were being held at schools in many of the areas for children to become the voice of the cameras.

 

“By funding and supporting these local schemes, the government is encouraging children to send this clear message to grown ups – act anti-socially and you will face the shame of being publicly embarrassed,” Mr Reid added.

Airports And The Privacy Of The Humiliated

I couldn’t help wondering about the privacy implications of airlines calling out people’s names over the airport PA system.

In Sydney and Melbourne airports recently I lost count of announcements along the lines of ‘Would Mr and Mrs X of flight X to X please go to gate X where their plane, and hundreds of their fellow passengers, are waiting patiently for them to board’, usually along with some humorous and belittling remark or two, which I have to say I found hugely amusing initially.

But then I got to thinking: What if it was me? What if it was someone who was having serious medical problems in the washroom? What if it was someone travelling incognito with someone who wasn’t their wife, or on some sensitive errand? What if someone already on the plane decided they’d be inconvenienced enough and jotted down the tardy passengers’ name to wreak revenge later?

Maybe it’s paranoia and an overworked privacy gland, but I’m not sure that, in this present version of the world, airlines and airports should be quite so fast and loose with announcements that identify individuals, their flight numbers and their embarrassment.