Prior to digital surveillance and the government’s Snooper’s Charter, it was much harder for the state to spy on its citizens.
Without the technology we have today, the government relied on manpower, specifically from society’s most innocent members – minors. Children in the UK especially were much easier to manipulate.
I-Spy books were subsequently published by the state and given as gifts, as well as distributed to schools, youth clubs and infant terror organizations . The books transformed the act of surveillance into play, encouraging children to routinely observe and record the actions, speech and private correspondence of people who the government deemed to be enemies of society. The completed books even prompted children to spy on themselves, which many found difficult, even with the mirrors provided.
Each completed book was sent to a local government councillor whose job it was to forward the data to the relevant renditions team, and also to decide if any compensation was due to the child; for example, if the surveillance data they had submitted led to the arrest and execution of a parent.