Debra Freedman: The Big Brother Tax

August 12, 2008 1:00 PM

The ‘nosy neighbour’, who watches you behind twitching curtains and asks one question too many during the morning’s exchange of pleasantries, is one of those universally despised characters.  Another one is the taxman.  Now imagine what morphing these two figures together would create... our local councils? 


The trend towards an increasing surveillance society continues.  As well as monitoring our litter, Councils are now being encouraged to listen in on telephone calls and read emails to detect crimes such as employee truancy.  The Metro today reported that “More than 3,000 people are thought to have had their calls and e-mail records checked by local authorities under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.”  This law granted authorities the powers to investigate private data for crimes involving terrorism.  This broadening of powers at the expense of our privacy is a worrying development.   


Councils are supposed to be a local representative body to serve the community.  After all, the average taxpaying household coughs up £1100 per year for this service.  So as council tax becomes more burdensome and the council ever more troublesome, one has to wonder: what exactly are we paying for?


It’s time we told the country we’re fed up of Councils abusing their powers, intruding into our lives.  Email a letter over to the Metro (mail@ukmetro.co.uk) opposing Council snooping or cast your vote (http://www.metro.co.uk/polls/index.html?in_poll_id=9395&in_page_id=1) and make your voice heard.

The ‘nosy neighbour’, who watches you behind twitching curtains and asks one question too many during the morning’s exchange of pleasantries, is one of those universally despised characters.  Another one is the taxman.  Now imagine what morphing these two figures together would create... our local councils? 


The trend towards an increasing surveillance society continues.  As well as monitoring our litter, Councils are now being encouraged to listen in on telephone calls and read emails to detect crimes such as employee truancy.  The Metro today reported that “More than 3,000 people are thought to have had their calls and e-mail records checked by local authorities under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.”  This law granted authorities the powers to investigate private data for crimes involving terrorism.  This broadening of powers at the expense of our privacy is a worrying development.   


Councils are supposed to be a local representative body to serve the community.  After all, the average taxpaying household coughs up £1100 per year for this service.  So as council tax becomes more burdensome and the council ever more troublesome, one has to wonder: what exactly are we paying for?


It’s time we told the country we’re fed up of Councils abusing their powers, intruding into our lives.  Email a letter over to the Metro (mail@ukmetro.co.uk) opposing Council snooping or cast your vote (http://www.metro.co.uk/polls/index.html?in_poll_id=9395&in_page_id=1) and make your voice heard.

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