Social Control on Agenda for UK Digital TV

Sunday Business (London, England), November 3, 2002 | Go to article overview

Social Control on Agenda for UK Digital TV


IN George Orwells novel, 1984, the government uses two-way telescreens to control a subservient population. Those paranoid about the development of a real-life Big Brother should note that the UK government appears to have similar plans for digital television (DTV).

A draft DTV policy framework document from the governments so-called e-Envoy paints a frightening picture of an imminent future in which a captive home audience is subjected to an ointeractiveo barrage of whatever information the government believes will benefit it most.

The document says that more than 97% of households possess at least one TV, making it oone of the most pervasive, familiar and accepted devices in the home,o and lists new policies developed oto grasp the opportunity presented by DTV for the delivery of e-government serviceso.

This will transform DTV into a one-stop shop for the delivery of government and other public services. It adds that the state could use DTV to alert people to possible crises, such as floodings.

It also envisages ointeractiveo public information on subjects such as crime prevention. Links would be provided to more detailed data, such as information on how to secure the home, or on local crime statistics.

There might also be the inclusion of a souped-up Crimewatch programme, allowing viewers to use the DTV to pass on information concerning irregular behaviour that they feel the authorities might find useful. …

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