Monday, August 27, 2007

Big Branson is watching you

In Brass Eye Chris Morris once persuaded Rhodes Boyson to support his cashback scheme. Under it, rather than spend money imprisoning them, the government would give young criminals the cash directly so they could go off and do something useful.

As this may well be Home Office policy by now, I should point out that it was meant as satire.

In order to persuade Boyson to accept the scheme, Morris (in the guise of interviewer David Compression) suggested the following:
DC: "Do you think perhaps enlisting somebody like Richard Branson to sell the cashback scheme... _might_ just work, might just get through to them."
RB: "I wouldn't say no to that."
DC: "I suppose if there was an element of... stick, you know - Richard Branson up in a balloon, watching the situation and saying, "there's your twenty-six thousand pounds, but I'm watching you from a balloon, and I can see a very long way.""
RB: "I'd go along with that."
Well, it seems that Richard Branson is now doing very much that sort of thing, but using a remotely controlled helicopter rather than a balloon.

The Taking Liberties blog reports that at the Virgin-sponsored V festivals this summer a flying robot that will be hovering over the crowds, filming them without their consent.

It goes on:
The stated aim of this toy is to prevent crime, in this instance drug dealing. Aside from the fact that everyone knows if you try and buy weed at a Festival you will almost certainly end up purchasing bay leaves, it does seem slightly preposterous to assert that this expensive flying camera can actually stop this happening. The drone is several hundred metres in the air, the copper with the magic helmet could be a mile away and the drug deal takes only seconds to conclude.
Nonetheless, the Police have gleefully declared the trial a success and proudly pointed out the sixty two arrests at Weston Park last weekend. However when they were pressed further, the police admitted that the Drones did not lead to any of these arrests. But they are really good fun to play with, so they've just ordered a dozen more...

1 comment:

Mountjoy said...

I wonder if it is one of those robots that will shout at wrongdoers, "Put away that spliff! Not 'ere, mate!"