Britain is in danger of "committing slow social suicide" as such Big Brother techniques as surveillance cameras and recording equipment spread into every aspect of our lives, the nation's information watchdog will warn this week.
A new report from Richard Thomas, the information commissioner, will say that the public needs to be made more aware of the "creeping encroachment" on civil liberties created by email monitoring, CCTV and computer tracking of our buying habits. It is understood that one of the concerns in Mr Thomas's report is the use of special listening devices which can be placed in lamp posts, street furniture and offices. These are already widely used in the Netherlands to combat crime and anti-social behaviour.
More than 300 of the cameras with built-in microphones have been fitted in benefit offices and city centres. The equipment can pick up aggressive tones on the basis of decibel level, pitch and speed at which words are spoken.
So - we're heading for 'slow social suicide'? ...interesting...