Although supporters claim the spy chips have been implanted in order to encourage British subjects to recycle rubbish rather than throw it away, those whose bins have been targeted without their knowledge are none too happy about the revelation. “They [local government] should mind their own business,” said Terry Williams, a man from London who is tired of the incessant meddling of the British government into the private lives of the Queen’s subjects. “I believe they have gone too far. It's not like we are throwing away anything that is illegal,” he told the online news organization RedOrbit.
The website of Big Brother Watch reports that there are 68 local authorities installing the microchips, up from 42 a year ago. Various reports from around the United Kingdom indicate that the chips are being placed in the bins in order to ramp up for the nationwide roll out of a “pay as you throw” plan that would charge Britons for any amount of trash thrown out above a government-imposed ceiling.
In a detailed 14 page report published last week, Alex Deane, the director of Big Brother Watch warns that, “Councils are waiting until the public aren’t watching to begin surveillance on our waste habits, intruding into people’s private lives and introducing punitive taxes on what we throw away.” Deane cites surveys conducted in Britain that have found: “The British public doesn’t want this technology, these fines or this intrusion. If local authorities have no intention to monitor our waste then they should end the surreptitious installation of these bin microchips.”
The notorious “pay as you throw” scheme that is being used to justify the secretive implantation of the microchips is part of the larger Climate Change Act that became the law in the U.K. in November of 2008. This bit of watermelon legislation (green on the outside, red on the inside) empowers the Secretary of State for Climate Change to ensure that the net UK carbon account for all six Kyoto greenhouse gases for the year 2050 is at least 80 percent lower than the 1990 baseline.
Despite their miniscule size, these chips are extremely powerful. The above-cited report published by the Big Brother Watch was chock full of data obtained as the result of several successful Freedom of Information lawsuits. The report’s summary contains the chilling claim that, “Placing microchips in bins capable of monitoring the content or weight of household refuse produces yet another piece of data for the state on an individual’s private life that it has no right to have. As a by-product of a person or family’s home life, waste has the potential to reveal significant details about their domestic habits. What we eat, where we shop and what quantities of food, clothes, medical, and prophylactic products and other goods we use is of interest to various different industries as well as the Government when targeting their latest healthy-eating or anti-smoking campaigns.”
These omniscient microchips are just the latest salvo in a barrage of privacy violations carried out by the British government in recent years. The city council of Northampton City Council sent out hooded spies to rummage through the garbage of residents in order to determine the content of the trash. The local government justified the intrusion by claiming it was part of an effort to improve waste management.
Similarly, in Lancashire, the local government spends the equivalent of nearly $90,000 annually to send out plain-clothes investigators to catalog the variety of rubbish being discarded by locals. The garbage gumshoes arrived announced and without any sort of identification demanding that residents give them access to their garbage cans. In a remarkable admission, a local town councilman explained the purpose of the rubbish brigades, “We are trying to make sure people dispose of their rubbish appropriately as they are not supposed to throw items like electrical goods away.”
Sadly, Britons are accustomed to these official privations. Since at least 1990, there have been severe fines levied on subjects who improperly dispose of household refuse. Already set at a level steeper than any similar fine in other countries, the fine amount and the authority of local government leaders to impose those fines were both augmented by the Climate Change Act. According to that law, local British councils may impose fines on residents without the permission of Parliament. The Daily Telegraph reckons that in response to the new investiture, “Government departments are anticipating that almost two-thirds of homes will face the new fees regime, internal documents show. There is no limit on how much a local authority can charge, but guidance from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs states charges of approximately £50 per year have been sufficient to change the behaviour [sic] of households.”
In light of this disclosure, many Britons are fearful that the microchips are being installed as a method for local governments to wield the unchecked power being given them under the green law. These local authorities will lie in wait until the attention of the public is focused elsewhere and finish the installation of chips throughout the U.K. and then activate them like a thief in the night, providing instant access to the most personal habits of British subjects.
In addition to the gathering and transmission of personal data facilitated by the microchips, those little squares of silicon and circuits will open an unstoppable spigot of income from the exorbitant fines collected as a result of the information they transmit. It is of particular note that the Climate Change Act places the amount of those fines within the sole and unquestioned discretion of local councils and beyond the reach of the U.K.’s elected representatives in Parliament.
What was once a laughable plot of a late night science fiction movie, this nightmare of secret government implantation of microchips and the clandestine gathering of intimate information is now a reality in the United Kingdom and is not beyond the realm of possibility in the United States. It is certain that somewhere there is an American bureaucrat with a penchant for privacy pilfering that is slavering over the power granted by eco-fascists to his British cousins. For that reason, it is imperative that Americans refuse steadfastly to slouch along the constantly monitored path to servitude that is being set out for our fellow Anglophones.
We must vigilantly watch for any such proposals that percolate up from our local authorities and heed well the wise words spoken over 2,000 years ago by Cicero, the famed Roman orator and defender of liberty, “An evil is most easily killed in its infancy.”
Photo of trash bins in Belfast, Northern Ireland: AP Images