George Orwell would be most amused to hear about the latest development in the EU. Ten countries of the European Union have agreed to help develop computer programs that monitor the internet and CCTV images, according to Telegraph.co.uk. Just like in the novel,1984, the EU's project aim is to detect any abnormal behavior on forums, peer-to-peer networks and even individual computers. The ultimate goal is to try to presage possible conflicts or acts of terror. Philip K. Dick, the author of Minority Report, would also be very amused.
Project Indect is not only an attempt to scour the internet for strange behavior, the European Union is calling for a more unified law-enforcement system, across the European states. Police officers in the UK will be trained in European affairs over the course of the remaining 50 months the project.
The five-year initiative already began on January 1st, 2009. Now the EU has decided to increase the budget by 13.5 % to nearly 1 billion Euros ($1.4 billion). Especially in the UK it has caused an outcry. Since the British citizens are already feeling oppressed by an abundance of CCTV cameras, many have sounded off their protest.
Shami Chakrabarti, the director of human rights group Liberty, describes this whole project as positively chilling. "Profiling whole populations instead of monitoring individual suspects is a sinister move for any society", she said.
Stephen Booth, Analyst at Open Europe, who has thoroughly assessed this program, has definitely recognized the Orwellian nature of it. To him it would mean less personal freedom for the citizens of the European Union. They will meddle with their privacy and the citizens should ask themselves, whether the EU shouldn't spend tax money on something else.
No matter where this leads, the only hope is that it doesn't spiral out of control. An abundance of control becomes only an obstruction when everyone forgets what it's for. That's why, within this Project Indect, there is a special board for ethical issues. This could be the beginning of an effective EU "secret service".