Monday, 11 August 2008

Orwell had a point

Residents noticed that instead of a rooftop camera pointing at traffic, at night it was aimed at a bock of flats. A local journalist found it was filming women in their bedrooms and bathrooms. This happened in Shenzhen, China, a couple of months ago.

In 2004 it happened in Merseyside. The images from the camera included a woman without her clothes on, they were shown on a large plasma screen in the council's CCTV control room in November 2004. Over several hours, she was filmed cuddling her boyfriend before undressing, using the toilet, and having a bath.

Poole borough council, in Dorset, used CCTV under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act - designed to track serious criminals and terrorists - to determine whether a school applicant and her parents lived where they said they did. They were appalled to discover they had been spied on for three weeks, the subject of surveillance.

The civilian in charge of a Worcester police station's surveillance team was suspended after detectives found, among one day's footage, a 20-minute sequence of close-ups of a woman's cleavage and backside as she walked oblivious through the streets.

One camera operator in Mid Glamorgan has been convicted on more than 200 counts of using cameras to spy on women, and then making obscene phone calls to them from the control room.

In contrast to the usual rhetoric, a 2-year study carried out by Professor Jason Ditton from Sheffield University concluded that: “What we have been able to show is that CCTV didn't reduce crime - if anything it has increased - and it didn't reduce fear of crime. If anything there was a slight increase in anxiety.” And another recent study carried out by the Scottish Centre for Criminology found that 'virtually all claims of crime prevention are false. Crimes of passion, crimes involving drugs and alcohol, and actions by professional criminals are not prevented by the cameras'.

Fingerprinting children, DNA samples from the innocent, who would believe that our land of tolerance would be turned into a police state. 1984 was meant to be a warning against the big brother state, but in Britain its become a guide.

* There are at least four million CCTV cameras in Britain, a fifth of the world's total. The average Londoner could be filmed up to 300 times a day
* A 2002 Home Office study found that more than 50 per cent of CCTV systems in city centres were ineffective in cutting crime
* In 2003 Geoffrey Peck was awarded £7,800 by the European Court of Human Rights because Brentwood council, Essex, used film of his attempted suicide to publicise the effectiveness of CCTV
* Last year CameraWatch hit the headlines when their research revealed 90 per cent of CCTV installations failed to comply with guidelines - despite 63 million pounds being ploughed into surveillance cameras by the Government.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was raised in Reading, and returned to the UK for what may be the last time.

I was shocked at just how many CCTV cameras there are.

I was standing at the railway station ticket office at Gatwick Airport and counted 17 cameras!

Then I was driving out in the middle of nowhere, near Wantage. A country road with no houses in sight. In fact the road was not busy either and guess what I saw... CCTV...for what I asked my self.

I asked someone if they were not concerned by all this (after all I can go for days in Toronto and not see a camera). And I was told why am I worried, if I have done nothing, then I have nothing to fear!

This article says it all. The slippery slope to "hell in a handbasket".