Report: Citizens of U.K. Most Watched in the Free World

LONDON — People in the United Kingdom are more spied upon than any other population in the free world, according to a report in Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper.

An official report released recently by Britain Information Commissioner Richard Thomas revealed that very little of what the country’s citizens say or do is ever private, the newspaper reports.

“We’re waking up in a surveillance society,” Thomas told the newspaper. “And when you start to see how many apparently beneficial schemes are in place to monitor people’s activities and movements that does raise concerns. There are risks the information is going to be mishandled.”

The newspaper reports the U.K. boasts some 6,000 speed cameras and 8,000 automatic license plate recognition devices which trigger a reaction when wanted, stolen or cloned plates or uninsured cars are spotted. In other findings reported in the newspaper, the average person is caught on camera 300 times a day — once every 4.8 minutes — by four million CCTV cameras. Facial recognition software automatically identifies faces within crowds. “Smart” CCTV is used in train stations to ID patterns of behavior that suggest a crime or suicide attempt is about to occur, the report says.

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