Thursday, December 8, 2011


By Mansor Puteh

Big Brother is here. And it is good.

It is a different sort of a Big Brother, one who is kind and not brutish like those we found in the earlier communist states, many of which had collapsed leaving with just a few left.

It is good that there are CCTVs everywhere in London as it created a situation where the people are constantly reminded that they are being watched.

Many have been issued with traffic summons after being caught by the CCTVs for committing them.

Yet, the London Riots of August, 2011 had caused many to feel that the system is still not foolproof. But at least it has managed to nab the offenders who were all detected by the system and they were duly arrested and brought to court.

It didn’t stop the riots though.

In Malaysia, the CCTV has not been fully used. Even in Kuala Lumpur its installation has not created a fear amongst the pedestrians and the motorists who continue to blatantly ignore traffic signs.

Traffic lights are not obeyed as many motorists beat them. Many other motorists also over speed and overtake by crossing double lines.

The worst traffic offenders are those who park on yellow lines everywhere.

Yet, they are not caught by the CCTV and the owners of the vehicles not issued traffic summons.

The few court cases in Malaysia where the prosecution produced evidence in the form of SMSes and phone calls as well as to who are really causing many to be alarmed.

They believe that making such calls or sending the messages may not be safe as no one knows what they can turn out to mean.

The revelation made by the telcos does not help ease the fears.

Worse when it is said that Blackberry also does the same so no wonder the senior government leaders do not use them; they choose to use local numbers instead which are safer.

And the internet providers too record emails, which can be used to convict anyone if there are incriminating messages.

It is also a known fact that no one can really hide behind free internet accounts as their identity can be determined.

The revelations have surely caused many to start to be more careful with what they say or write, which is good, so the users of these modern communication devices will know how to use them well.

But what happens if in the near future some smart person were to invent a system or software that does not allow the telcos or internet providers from recording or detecting where the calls or messages made?

This can happen. And it will happen in due course.

There must be a way for such a system or device or software to be created. And if this is done, surely, many will be excited with it and will embrace it wholeheartedly as they now know that they can communicate with anyone freely and in secret.

Those who have bad intentions and use for the device will be the most thrilled by it.

Unfortunately, CCTVs in many police stations and other government agencies in Malaysia do not seem to work so many cases could not be recorded.

I find it strange how a new city of Putrajaya which is the new administrative capital of the country does not have wide coverage of the CCTV.

This is where most of the major government ministries and agencies are now located. Yet, the system is not widely used.

How could this be?

The administrative capital of Malaysia should give this top priority so that anything that moves in the city in the day and also night is recorded.

In London it is said they have 16,000 CCTVs placed all over the place. That has ensured that this city to be the most peaceful and secured in the world.

And the officers operating the system monitor them every second so nothing escapes them.

If there is a crime about to happen they would see it and the police officers are sent over to apprehend or stop anyone from committing the crime.

This is what the CCTV system is for; not just to record such incidents but to avoid crimes from taking place.

It is too late to take action to arrest anyone after he had committed the crime, when it could have been stopped from happening.

And no wonder one of the ways for the government to monitor the activities and communications of its senior staff, is for them to be given free phone numbers with one hundred ringgit of free calls per month.

This is more than enough for them to use the phones for their everyday communication.

The disadvantage is that these phone numbers are monitored and if there are any illegal dealings, the officers can be easily punished.

Unfortunately, the relevant government agencies have also failed to use this to nab those who are openly operating illegally by posting their numbers in stickers they paste in public places offering services which are clearly illegal.

So why can’t they monitor their communication to see what sort of business they are dealing with and with who?

In this way, they can easily nab all of those who are engaged in illegal trading and businesses.

In this way, too, they can stop illegal business without those operating them knowing that their calls and messages are being monitored, as the acts by the authorities can be in the form of investigation based on the information they could get from the telcos themselves.

Is the New Big Brother still dumb?

Maybe he is.

If he is not, we would surely not be able to find the stickers in public places which blatantly advertising illegal activities of all sorts so openly and daringly.

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