Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis knew a thing or two although I secretly think he might have been a member of the Tinfoil Helmet Brigade of his day. Okay, perhaps a Lead Helmet since tinfoil was not invented for almost 2000 years, but I digress.

Who watches the watchers?

Perhaps it is the bane of those of us who watch others for a living, that we slowly succumb to paranoia of being watched ourselves.

Or maybe it's just me.

Just the other day I was sitting outside a food court, waiting on a friend, when I noticed the man across the road. He was standing by a shop door, camera in hand, looking a bit 'touristy' judging by his dress. But what piqued my interest was the way he was just loitering, almost hovering, in the vicinity without any clear purpose. And, while I was observing him, he raised the camera and took a couple of quick snaps of either the vehicle parked in front of him, the unattractive building with no architectural or cultural value behind me, or me.

As attractive as I am, I just don't see why a tourist would be wanting some candid snaps of me sitting on a bench on a cold day. And of the other possibilities, neither the car nor the building, seem worthy enough to be of any interest to a tourist.

Now I'm not ready for a Tinfoil Helmet of my very own just yet, but there was something odd about that incident.

Am I being surveilled?

I have no reason to believe I am of interest to other parties. I'm not breaking any laws (most of the time), I'm not fraudulently claiming a benefit or compensation. I'm not investigating anything with murky political or underworld connections at the moment. That I know of.

I do consort with terrorists, however.

Well, they call themselves Marxist-Leninists or something and wax on endlessly about The Revolution  (the one that's coming any day now, and not the one in 1917). One used to be a card carrying member of the IRA, or was it Sinn Fein? It's hard to keep track, to be sure. And they're financing some dubious middle-eastern 'political party' through selling T-shirts and the like.

One such good friend, 'Saul Danson', has the temerity to call me dodgy.

Anyway, while they have been on the radar of our security services in the past, I'm sure they've been discounted as the bunch of ineffectual chardonnay socialists that they are. So I very much doubt that I'd be the target of surveillance because of their 'activities' and I'm not involved with them in any other way. Well, to be honest I did offer my service to them at discounted rates (we are friends, after all) if they wanted some research conducted into the activities of their political opposition etc.

Sadly, they felt I should be providing these services pro bono as a gesture of support to the cause. Dodgy *** needs a new pair of shoes and you can't dine off goodwill. Not at any of the restaurants I like to frequent, anyway.

So it is unlikely that I am the target of surveillance by our state at any rate.

Maybe I am being paranoid. Still, it's probably not going to hurt running some anti-surveillance drills.

Just in case.

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