Police chief's 'Orwellian' fears

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by Karma, May 20, 2007.

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  1. A senior police officer has said he fears the spread of CCTV cameras is leading to "an Orwellian situation".

    BBC Article

    He's got a point, where is the requirement and where's the assurance the information collected is used appropriately?
  2. The argument will always be that if you're up to no good you deserve to be caught. But as for appropriate use, I'm not convinced that the normal, innocent man in the street is protected at all.
  3. I'm a bit confused as to how the innocent man in the street can be abused by CCTV footage. I mean, being caught on camera popping into the shops is hardly a violation of your human rights, is it?
  4. I agree with you Peter; an innocent man has nothing to fear ... for now.

    I remember reading something else on this subject recently (can't remember where) but it included a statistic which suggested that Britain had the lions share of the world's CCTV cameras. I think we accounted for about a quarter of all the cameras in public areas in the world. Pretty certain I didn't dream it. :?

    What does concern me is where will it end? I think that's the real issue and the one that campaigners against them are trying to highlight. Do we end up with them on every street?, inside every building? and perhaps, eventually in our homes? You will be forgiven for laughing at the prospect as sheer science fiction but how much science fiction has since become science fact over the years? ... and lets not forget that we're already seeing various areas trialing speaking cameras ie: designed to catch litter louts and bark at them to pick up over the speaker system.

    It doesn't really take a huge leap of the imagination to believe that full CCTV coverage which is able to give instructions, record crimes and issue penalties is not that far away.

    ... and before anyone asks, no I haven't been drinking.

  5. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    It's a good point and as Silverfox points out, if you are doing nothing wrong what's to fear? But, when the installation of CCTV camera's is used to justify removing coppers from the beat to be replaced by an old bloke in an operating room you have to start asking why! Money?

    I think the main concern in all of this is simple, many people feel they are losing the ability to live their own lives in the way they want to live them, we are losing our privacy and that's probably as much the fault of our technological age as anything else. When the nanny state begins to tell you where and how to live is the time to worry......... oops too late!
  6. Depends what use it's put to, in isolation individual records are of little value, however once aggregated they become extremely useful.

    Of course one could argue that we have nothing to fear from the government, that fine upstanding body of people in parliament whose own interests are clearly subordinated to the benefit of society.

    According to the Data Protection Act, any record associated with us should be accurate and clearly attributable, as well as be held only for a legitimate business need and should be destroyed once that legitimate business need has passed. We can't get the implementation of the DPA right in the RN, and I don't imagine that it's much better elsewhere in government, never mind the private sector.

    Information about the individual should also be appropriately protected, if it's recorded and stored it's vulnerable to theft.

    The latter is probably the greater threat, it's very cheap to buy a civil servant.
  7. This would be the same upstanding bunch who were prepared to sell our personal information to the highest civilian bidder so we can be buried in junk mail, annoying sales-people and probably a whole host of nasty individuals who could abuse it.

  8. The real problem with CCTV is that it has the well documented effect of displacing crime to other, unmonitored, areas. The potential wrong in widespread CCTV is on the grounds of invasion of privacy in the first instance, and in the second, the potential for misuse by the authorities. It is the latter in particular that should concern people. Suppose a local authority in the future gets taken over by the fascists/communists/religious fundamentalists (eg the BNP). Think of the mischief it could be used for. For example my local council has three Conservative Christian fundamentalists serving in influential positions and a number of other evangelical Christians in the same political party! They are growing in number. If their number increases beyond a critical point it is reasonable given the opinions openly expressed by some of them in our local paper, that they might be tempted to use CCTV for social (ie theopolitical) monitoring and control. Indeed my local council are an excellent example why more people need to be encouraged to vote rather than being passive then moaning afterwards.
  9. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    :lol: :p
  10. The issue of using our vote is an important one. I always make a point of doing so (apart from the most recent local elections because the feckers didn't send my papers out and couldn't give a reasonable explaination for it).

    sadly our record for abysmal turnout's on polling dats is so ingrained that it is getting ever more difficult to change the habit. I get really annoyed when I have to listen to people moan about the state of this or that and they can't be bothered to use their vote, or in many cases, even register for it in the first place.

    Noe before anyone accuses me of being a BNP supporter or worse I will confirm that I am very definately not, but I can't help but wonder how long it will be before the reducing number of home grown voters plus factored with the increasing number of immigrant & newly registered voters change the tide of politics, etc in this country right in front of us. This apathy might one day result in non-Britons deciding who rules us all. 8O

  11. The standard argument about cameras and the survielance society is 'if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear'.

    The people who spout that line should study a little 20th Century history, that was the same line Hitler used when he was establishing his police state…

    “Papiere, Bitte?"
  12. Surveillance camera's both intrude and protect.
    The question is:
    Are the benefits camera's outweigh the privacy concerns?
  13. In what way do you believe they protect?
  14. Surviellance cameras do not protect, that is the biggest fallacy peddled by their proponets…

    All surveillance cameras do is provide lots of grainy footage after the fact for reality cop shows of people being attacked or cars being stolen.

    Your average chave is not the slightest bit bothered by the presence or otherwise of cameras, Mr Hoody and Mr Baseball cap are their friends.
  15. The camera's have been used effectively by police forces in this country to follow criminal activity and to then get officers to the scene. They have also been used very effectively (though after the crime) to piece together a criminals/terrorists movements prior to the crime commitment.
    It's fairly new technology and there was a program on it's use a few days ago. I was impressed with the way in which they were used.

  16. Here's a concept for the Boys in Blue, don't spend Billions on gucchi cameras, spend all the money on putting more Officers on the beat…

    That way you don't need the cameras to tip off Officers to get to the scene… they are already on the scene… Problem solved!
  17. Unfortunately much as I would love to have a far greater officer on the beat presence this will not happen as funding is not available. Camera's and video recording do provide a valuable service in providing photographic evidence when used for law enforcement. Plus one officer can monitor several locations, the copper on the beat can only monitor the street he is on.
    However we do need more beat officers.
  18. Hmm, retrospective peicing together of evidence doesn't strike me as providing protection per se, although it does provide some input to the lessons process. I'd dispute your use of the example in support of protection.

    The issue around allowing enforcement personnel to arrive at a scene of crime whilst the crime is ongoing strikes me as a fairly narrow subset of possible use. Clearly the crime itself has to take time sufficient time that a live observer can alert responders, and allow those responders to actually arrive in time to at least intercept, if not prevent the offence. Again I don't see that as protection, in the case of a burglary chances are the entry will already have happened by the time the responders appear, so the psychological impact of the burglary will appear anyway. Of course in most cases of manned cameras we're probably talking about commercial premises rather than private. I'll acknowledge that there is a value in the use, but how much is probably questionable.

    In terms of the indiscriminate use of cameras highlighted in the article, as Oil Slick points out all it takes is a hood or baseball cap to make the video imagery useless. So the imagery is limted to identifying those who are complying with the law anyway. It serves to criminalising the law abiding. One could start to insist that people don't wear hoods or other headgear, so that their faces are visible and recognisable. That levels the playing field again but is it an acceptable intrusion?
  19. A little surprised that our resident plastic plod hasn't got an opinion.
    Come on Inspector Morose, out with it......
  20. Mention has been made of cameras that talk, I think that they are up North somewhere. How about cameras that listen? There was a programme on the box last week, which featured Dutch police, developing a system that would alert controllers when it heard voices being raised. So don't be surprised when Robo Cop appears to deal with any trouble.

    Semper Strenuissima.

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