Sunday, 17 February 2008

The facts behind 'The Last Enemy'

The Last Enemy, beginning at 9pm tonight on BBC1, is a five-part predictive drama set in Britain in the wake of a terrorist attack. Britain has become a security state, using technology to put every citizen under surveillance, threatening relationships and destroying trust.

Stephen Ezard (Benedict Cumberbatch) returns to a country he no longer recognises for his brother's funeral. His investigations into his brother's death lead him to become an enemy of the state.

Some facts behind the drama:

  • Britain has about five million CCTV cameras, one for every 12 people. More cameras than any other country. (The Times, 27 March 2007)

  • "ID cards will link your basic personal information to something uniquely yours - like the pattern of your iris, your face shape or your fingerprint. It will protect your identity from people fraudulently claiming to be you and make it easier for you to prove your identity when you need to - like opening a bank account, moving house, applying for benefits or starting a job." (Identity & Passport Service Website)

  • Millions of children as young as 11 are to have their fingerprints taken and stored on a Government database, according to leaked Whitehall plans. The Home Office wants to include children in its biometric passport scheme in three years' time, and automatically transfer their details and fingerprints to the controversial new national identity database when they turn 16. (This is London Website, 4 March 2007)

  • 21 of the 25 EU Member States have already introduced ID cards. (Home Office Website)• The costs of the identity cards project were revealed to have risen by £840m in the last six months to £5.75 billion. (The Guardian, May 2007)

  • British citizens will be quizzed on up to 200 different pieces of personal information in a 30 minute grilling if they want a passport... Those who fail to convince the bureaucrats they are who they say will be denied a travel document or face a full investigation by anti-fraud experts. There is no formal appeal process. (Daily Mail, 21 March 2007)

  • Advances in surveillance technology could seriously damage individual privacy unless drastic measures are taken to protect personal data, scientists have said. The report by the Royal Academy of Engineering said that travel passes, supermarket loyalty cards and mobile phones could be used to track individuals' every move. They also predicted that CCTV footage could [be] available for public consumption and that terrorists could hijack the biometric chips in passports and rig them up as a trigger for explosives. (The Times, 27 March 2007)

(Source: BBC website)

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