Thursday, August 22, 2013

Whatever, Frau Merkel

German Speed Camera
This is hilarious:
“With every day it becomes clear to the United States that this is important for us,” she said at a July press conference in Berlin. “Germany is not a nation of surveillance. Germany is a nation of freedom.”
I'm sorry, but as an American who has lived in Germany, I can tell you, without hesitation, Germany is a surveillance state without peer.

Everything is monitored, tracked and recorded. The presence of cameras is ubiquitous whether you live in Berlin or the Hansel and Gretel Village of Bumfuckheim in the Black Forest. There are cameras everywhere. You cannot wash your car without someone watching to ensure that you get out of your vehicle and stand outside of the car wash while the machine passes over it, back and forth. God help you if you forget to get out of your car and wait patiently while this occurs.

Every single retail store features some form of surveillance and tracking technology. Carrying a mobile phone? As soon as you pass a certain landmark, your provider sends you a text, asking you if you want a deal at so-and-so retail store. Your license plate is, throughout all of Europe, the easiest thing about you to track and record. You cannot hope for privacy when your every movement is being traced by some tracking method embedded or hidden somewhere. Even the speed cameras are able to capture the surprise on your face when you travel past them.

Now, in contrast to this, it was entertaining to watch our German neighbor freak out when the Google car went past his home. He got into his Opel station wagon and followed it, dutifully, and that was the last we saw of Google in the neighborhood.

Whether or not Angela Merkel wins is no longer of any concern. But, her statement is a howler that should follow her into retirement.

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