Now Everyone Gets to Watch the Cameras

From The Times:

Residents of a trendy London neighbourhood are to become the first in Britain to receive "Asbo TV" -- television beamed live to their homes from CCTV cameras on the surrounding streets.

As part of the £12m scheme funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, residents of Shoreditch in the East End will also be able to compare characters they see behaving suspiciously with an on-screen "rogues' gallery" of local recipients of anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos).

Viewers will then be able to use an anonymous e-mail tip-off system to report to the police anyone they see breaching an Asbo or committing a crime.

Someone knows what the deal is here:

"The CCTV element is part curiosity, like a 21st-century version of Big Brother, and partly about security," said Atul Hatwell, of the Shoreditch Digital Bridge project.

Certainly this kind of system can be abused, but my guess is that worrying about this is kind of silly:

Andrew Duff, a Conservative councillor, raised concerns about the system being adopted by burglars to check unoccupied properties. "It could be used by dishonest people as well," he said.

My guess is that this sort of system will reduce the crime rate, as criminals move to neighborhoods without these sorts of systems. But once everyone has this sort of system, criminals will adapt and the crime rate will return to its original rate.

Meanwhile, everybody loses more privacy.

Posted on January 11, 2006 at 7:55 AM • 67 Comments

Comments

Neil BartlettJanuary 11, 2006 8:14 AM

Just how much attention are the police going to pay to those "anonymous tip-off emails"?

Almost none I would imagine.

The main purpose for this system is to allow people to be nosy neighbours.

TanukiJanuary 11, 2006 8:17 AM

Shoreditch is by no stretch of the imagination a "trendy London neighbourhood" - it's a squalid inner-city slum. That's why they have street-troubles and CCTV.

Whatever, the UK's cities slide inexorably towards a Panopticon. What price privacy?

Damon BuckwalterJanuary 11, 2006 8:48 AM

While I worry about the loss of privacy, I see this experiment in a positive light.

In "The Transparent Society" by David Brin, he argues that we don't have a choice on whether or not the cameras are coming. They will be cheap enough that private coverage will spread even if public coverage doesn't.

The choice we do have is who gets to watch. If it is only a select elite who have access to the video (government or corporate security), then we'll head toward a Big Brother state.

If everyone has access, then we'll have a host of new problems (criminal use, loss of anonymous travel, etc). Despite the new problems created, open access will be a more robust system as abuses will be harder to hide.

One important part is to keep open logs about who accesses the video. We need to be able to watch the watchers.

MSBJanuary 11, 2006 8:54 AM

'Just how much attention are the police going to pay to those "anonymous tip-off emails"?

Almost none I would imagine.'

Your comment points out a strategy criminals may use to adapt to the system. They may try to "train" the police to dismiss to anonymous tip-offs by making a large number of submissions that are basically overly paranoid interpretation of otherwise benign occurrences.

jayhJanuary 11, 2006 9:01 AM

It can keep police on their toes as well, I suspect.

I understand that the use of cameras on patrol cars seems to have reduced both illegitimate and legitimate charges of police abuse.

EvanJanuary 11, 2006 9:18 AM

I see a few problems with this scheme.

1. Inapropriate profiling.
If black people, or those that wear turbans always look suspicious to some members of the community, then the police are going to stop by to investigate the suspicious behavior for no real reason. Can you imagine how it woud feel if everytime you entered a neighborhood a police officer stopped to talk to you, or even drove by to check you out?

2. Harrasment
Don't like your neighbor, great everytime he leaves, track him on the cameras and send out an email about his suspicious behavior. Now automate this (motion sensor aimed at his driveway, random timed delay, automatically generated email with some random text).

3. Crime
Learn the daily patterns of people, have your "look out" use the cameras to tell you when the cops aren't around, etc.


AGJanuary 11, 2006 9:19 AM

Openness is not an invasion of privacy.

For instance, is the smoke detector (connected to the home security system) in your house bad?
Essentially the security company has a nose in your home.

Expanding the senses thru technology does not invade on privacy.

The true cause is a lack of respect for other people and their personal space.
If we taught more respect for the individual it wouldn't be an issue.

The MailmanJanuary 11, 2006 9:24 AM

I remember seeing a 1-hour documentary a few years ago about a similar system being implemented in the streets of Reykjavik (Iceland). The documentary was complete with pictures of the installed cameras, citizens showing you their TVs tuned to the CCTV channel, interviews of the police chief of the city, who defended the system, and interviews of privacy advocates who were against it. Some opponents were shown walking around wearing a mask of the mayor of Reykjavik, etc.

The documentary then ended with the announcement that it was all fake, and non of it existed, it just was a way to say that information can be manipulated, and everything can be made believable.

Looks like reality caught up.

Preston L. BannisterJanuary 11, 2006 9:27 AM

Are the cameras aimed front yards (i.e. public spaces) or into windows and backyards (private spaces)?

Assuming that the cameras are aimed at public spaces, I disagree - mildly - that this presents a loss of privacy. I do agree with the point Damon also makes - better that all eyes can be aimed at public spaces, and not just "Big Brother", better to be transparent.

The MailmanJanuary 11, 2006 9:30 AM

I looked up the documentary I mentionned in my previous post.

It is called "Citizen Cam". It is from 1999, and was directed by Jerome Scemla. It is only 25 minutes long (in my memory it was longer than that).

Here I copy/paste a summary that I found about it on the web:

"Jerome Scemla's short film Citizen Cam tries to address the issue of surveillance from a mass culture perspective. The twenty-minute documentary tells the amusing story of a public television channel in Iceland controlled by the police force. The 24-hour channel shows twenty second footages of surveillance cameras that are placed throughout the city of Rejykvik. The film includes interviews with the channel's opponents and supporters. But when a local priest claims with childish pride that he "is proud of his people" because "no one has tried to commit suicide on air," the viewer begins to wonder if they are watching a documentary, a mockumentary, or an Icelandic version of Surviver. A policeman tells an anecdote about boys who staged a bloody twenty-second gang fight in front of one camera. Citizens throughout the city began to call in the station, claiming that they were eye-witnesses. When the police arrived at the scene, the boys were jovial and triumphant over their successful charade. The film makes the point that in an age of almost ubiquitous surveillance and sensational reality shows, what's true and what's not is more perplexing and enigmatic than ever. "

The MailmanJanuary 11, 2006 9:34 AM

What happens in the "Citizen Cam" short film could well happen in this British CCTV surveillance initiative.

You could DOS the police by staging fake crimes right in front of the cameras.

Or someone could use the CCTV to commit suicide in front of a live audience.

JimJanuary 11, 2006 9:50 AM

It's an interesting question whether this is going to be more useful for the neighborhood or for crooks. On the neighborhood side, how often will people watch "The Street Channel" once the novelty wears off? Would the electronic version of the front window get any more participation than tradtional neighborhood watch programs just because it's on TV? It probably depends on whether "American Idol" is on.

For crooks, it could be really useful if they can get access to the signal remotely. There's value in being able to learn a neighborhood's habits without having to show up there every day.

MitchJanuary 11, 2006 10:08 AM

There's a good side to this, too. With this system it's hard for the British police to "lose" CCTV tapes or control access to them.

Next time they shoot someone in the head eight times for "looking a bit too foreign", the public will be able to see the footage for themselves.

If they tie this into telephone voting, we could even choose who gets shot. My vote would be for the government ministers who are wasting money on this sort of "security pantomime" when the money could be spent on useful things.

TGJanuary 11, 2006 10:13 AM

I am not sure I see the privacy issue as significant. What about a policeman walking the streets, that is a similar invasion of privacy. It is a matter of where to draw the line between privacy and security. If the criminals adapt and come up with a new strategy, is that a good reason to not pursue a better security? If there is a better way of investing the money I would certainly go for it.

KieranJanuary 11, 2006 10:21 AM

I see this mostly as a tool for getting people to realise just how much privacy they're losing. It might even grow a few full-blown privacy advocates.

The MailmanJanuary 11, 2006 10:32 AM

"What about a policeman walking the streets, that is a similar invasion of privacy."

Not exactly. In the street, you have some kind of control of who sees you doing what. You see the people who see you. With a CCTV system, you not only can't see the people watching you, but often, the cameras are concealed.

It's one thing to be on camera when you choose to enter a privately owned space, like a mall or a casino, it's another when the same happens in the streets.

TomJanuary 11, 2006 10:36 AM

Now you can bribe your neighbor when you see his mistress turn up.

Information that could have been gained by looking out of the window though I suppose.

Preston L. BannisterJanuary 11, 2006 11:35 AM

Yes, when we are talking about information you can get by looking out the window, I do not see this as a loss of privacy.

On the street, if you are being watched by another person, there is a good chance you can tell - this is transparency. If you and your neighbors have agreed to have cameras installed in the public spaces in your neighborhood, the cameras should not be concealed - this is transparency (for someone visiting your neighborhood).

To limit criminal misuse, live camera access should probably be limited to local users. Access to archives should be both logged (for all "official" access), and limited to discourage misuse.

m0teJanuary 11, 2006 11:57 AM

I don't imagine that this reduces privacy from a legal perspective, as the streets are public anyway. It might open the door to interesting police process questions, though. For instance:
1. If someone witnesses a crime via CCTV, will that person's testimony be considered "eyewitness" and admissible as evidence in court?
2. Will police then make it a habit to interview everyone in a neighborhood who has CCTV?
3. Will folks publish their local CCTV feeds on a webserver, thereby making it possible for a person from another country to witness the crime?
4. Assuming they can confirm that a foreigner witnessed the crime, can police subpoena that foreigner to testify in the case?
5. What happens when folks start recording their local CCTV feeds? Will that become admissible as evidence, like in-store recordings of security video?

StephenJanuary 11, 2006 12:19 PM

@AG
"For instance, is the smoke detector (connected to the home security system) in your house bad?"

Considering how my oven smokes whenever I bake in the middle of the night, I'd say that's quite a bad thing. I don't need a dozen firefighters showing up with me in my jammies.

This is just the same as how it's better to take that money spent on cameras and monitoring and spend it on police officers who can evaluate situations firsthand; I'm better equipped to judge the danger from smoke in my kitchen than a remote sensing device is.

AnonymousJanuary 11, 2006 1:06 PM

Agreed that this is not an invasion of privacy.

While in good interest, the smoke detector argument doesn't stand up as a good analogy as everything is in plain sight, not inside of bathrooms or telephone booths. And with a smoke detector, you give explicit permission on a contractual basis for a third-party to monitor the home.

Big Brother? Not necessarily. While they may monitor this as well, this seems to be intended as a citizen crime watch program, not a super secret government surveillence project.

At any rate, this sounds more like "security through paranoia."

Steve L.January 11, 2006 1:06 PM

I'd rather not have any cameras at all, but if we have to have them (which I don't think we do), then they might as well be viewable to all and not just the police. This would keep things a little more under control (and likely to be less abused).

What's next though, cameras in our homes to make sure nothing bad is happening - it would be kept out of bathrooms and bedrooms or course. (Seriously, where does it end?) I mean think of the security gained were there to be cameras in every interior of every livable structure. Surely, "terrorists & criminals" couldn't plot anything from within our borders anymore. Where do these ridiculous arguments for security thru surveillance stop? To me it is all about the government gaining more and more control and less and less about security. After all, it is one of the sign’s of fascism “Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,��? and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.��? - taken from here: http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?...

AnonymousJanuary 11, 2006 1:41 PM

@ m0te

> I don't imagine that this reduces privacy from a legal perspective,
> as the streets are public anyway

I don't think this is the case, but I'm not a lawyer.

This certainly changes reasonable expectations. There are degrees of "public".

MikeJanuary 11, 2006 2:47 PM

@ Neil Bartlett "Just how much attention are the police going to pay to those "anonymous tip-off emails"?

Almost none I would imagine."

Yup, they don't often respond to 999 calls, let alone emails about the feral youth which infect our neighborhoods.

This baffles me, why couln't the £12million go into employing more police officers?

Good insight into the mind of the Bobby:

http://www.briansbriefencounters.blogspot.com/

pigletJanuary 11, 2006 3:56 PM

This scheme is clearly illegal under British and European privacy laws. Granted, Britain doesn't care too much about legal niceties (after all, they still don't have a constitution) but that's going too far even in Asbos country.

"My guess is that this sort of system will reduce the crime rate, as criminals move to neighborhoods without these sorts of systems." That is unlikely. What is likely is that more people will go to prison but not necessarily criminals. Professional criminals won't in the least be bothered and that's not what that system is all about. As the text makes clear, it's mainly about controlling "asbos", that is, people (usually youngsters) who have done nothing illegal but will soon be criminals. An asbos prohibits a person, for example, from going to certain places. Now if the whole neighborhood keeps watching cameras, asbos people will be caught more often breaching their asbos, and then can be sent to prison. That's the whole idea. Those nice citizens will still be burglared, but they will have the satisfaction of being able to denounce local youngsters.

pigletJanuary 11, 2006 4:00 PM

From a social policy perspective, consider this quote: "The area has been picked because it is among the country’s poorest." (but trendy anyway?) Surely there's nothing more useful the government could do for poor neighborhoods than spending tens of millions on surveillance systems.

billswiftJanuary 11, 2006 5:55 PM

"If government would guarantee that they would never, ever modify surveillance beyond using it to solve and deter crimes, we could have an honest argument about whether it was necessary or not."

If you actually believe government guarantees, you should go to work for the NSA. The only way to keep these surveillance systems fair is like Brin wrote, let everybody watch. There will be problems for some while, but eventually we will work through it to a new normality. Secrecy only benefits would be tyrants.

B-ConJanuary 11, 2006 6:32 PM

I figure the concept Asbo TV will be really exciting for a while and everyone will want to be a Junior Cop. Then it will wear off and nobody will care about it any more.

David ThomasJanuary 11, 2006 7:22 PM

I'm quite curious as to Bruce's take on the "It's better that everyone can watch than just Big Brother" argument that several have put forth.

jammitJanuary 11, 2006 8:13 PM

It seems Big Brother(tm) needs a Little Brother to help. This is another wholesale surveillance scheme. The only thing to improve the system is to make everybody wear machine readable bar codes. The only good thing is the public is allowed to watch, but they don't get paid to do it. I can go on and on about ways to "work" the system for illegal gains, but I won't because the real issue here is if it actually works and is beneficial to the citizens. Is there an addition to a law that states if the crime goes down to a certain level, then the cameras are removed? I'm sure this is a one way thing. Once you're marked "bad", you will always be marked bad.

Roy OwensJanuary 11, 2006 8:26 PM

@m0te

Predicting the legal stance is easy: The judiciary will rule that people who watched it on CCTV were not witnesses.

The precedent has already been established. If you videotape crimes, the police can seize your videotape (and camera) as 'evidence', and you cannot testify in court to what you saw through the viewfinder because that is not evidence (although not one of the six billion people on this planet can explain why). Obviously, people watching on monitors what you saw through the viewfinder have to be disqualified as witnesses since this case is equivalent to your a-priori disqualification.

I think the driver for this peculiar stance is that the police fear video technology being turned against them. They want to control it, not be controlled by it.

I will bet that the police will make a practice of turning off the CCTV when they conduct raids, their excuse being to blah-blah-blah security blah-blah safety blah-blah-blah secrecy blah-blah.

MKPJanuary 11, 2006 9:30 PM

On a lighter note-
While US has just passed a law to check Annonimity, in U.K they are sort of encouraging it. In a different context though.

RogerJanuary 11, 2006 10:54 PM

I certainly agree that this is a disturbing trend -- but not because public monitoring of the CCTV is an invasion of privacy per se. Since the footage is being filmed in public places, it isn't an invasion of privacy. But there seems to be a disturbing trend in recent years of inuring the public to voyeurism. Actually, in this respect "Asbo TV" is perhaps less offensive than Big Brother. But both seem to encourage behaviours that not too long ago would be considered possible signs of mental illness, or at least seriously antisocial traits. (Hmm, there's a thought -- maybe the police can "custos custodes" and make a note in their secret files: "Watches Asbo TV and Big Brother, possible pervert".)

However:

"...compare characters they see behaving suspiciously with an on-screen "rogues' gallery" of local recipients of anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos)..."

This part is VERY disturbing. I understand that there is already concern that ASBOs are overly broad and harmful to basic civil liberties [1] and too easily obtained (civil standard of proof, etc.). Now it is apparently proposed to invade the privacy of ASBO recipients by publicising their faces and "offences", something which is not done for those actually convicted of real criminal offences!!

Miscellaneous comments:

> Shoreditch is by no stretch of the imagination a "trendy London neighbourhood" - it's a squalid inner-city slum

My understanding of the article is that some wealthy people have already moved to the area, and this project is part of a program of "gentrification". Presumably the gentry themselves won't actually get filmed, as they sweep back and forth from underground garages in their tinted-window beamers.

> It's one thing to be on camera when you choose to enter a privately owned space, like a mall or a casino, it's another when the same happens in the streets.

The above comment is presumably from an American reader, since he calls himself Mailman rather than Postman, and for him a "mall" is a "privately owned space". It is also almost exactly the opposite way around to how it is seen by myself (an Australian) and Australian and British friends I have asked. I've previously noticed similar comments from Americans on previous threads on this topic, but forgot to comment last time I saw it.

To me, what occurs on the public street is part of public life, something that occurs as part of a community who are all aware to some degree of what is occurring around you. The things that you do in the open as part of that community should be done openly and proudly, and that is a necessary part of a healthy society.

On the other hand, when I go into a merchant's shop I expect to have my confidences respected. I understand that some businesses feel obliged to install cameras for security (as in banks, against bank robbery), but I resent it and there are many types of businesses, ranging from bookshops to shoe shops, who would lose my custom if they were to install cameras.

It is an interesting cultural distinction. I wonder if it is because many Americans drive everywhere and so regard the "mall" as the place they meet fellow citizens, instead of the street?

@m0te,
> 1. If someone witnesses a crime via CCTV, will that person's testimony be considered "eyewitness" and admissible as evidence in court?
@Roy Owens' response:
> The judiciary will rule that people who watched it on CCTV were not witnesses.... If you videotape crimes, the police can seize your videotape (and camera) as 'evidence', and you cannot testify in court to what you saw through the viewfinder ....

I are you sure of this Roy? The bit about having _only_ seen it on CCTV is the same here, but the rest is the exact opposite to what was explained to me by the judge whilst serving as a juryman in Australia. (Of course, Blighty may well have gone down a different path.) Here the rule is that the _only_ evidence is the person testifying, the videotape is merely an exhibit. The standard form of words is that you all watch the video (or look at a photograph), then the cameraman/photographer takes the stand and testifies that "what you just saw is a true and accurate representation of what I saw through the viewfinder on such and such a date", and then is asked questions about what he/she saw going on around it, etc. In unusual circumstances a video or photo may be accepted as an exhibit without the testimony of the person who took it, but you are then warned that it is very unreliable, easy to manipulate etc.
____
1. In one notorious case, an ASBO has been issued to forbid an elderly man from the use of sarcasm !!! Cue Monty Python's Piranha Brothers.

BixbyJanuary 12, 2006 3:31 AM

This is as much an invasion of privacy as your nosy neighbor peering at you with binoculars, taking pictures or filming you. Stalker's wet dream come true.

On the upside(?) corporations could rent public space that the camera is pointed at for advertising space - income to support the insecurity system!

Yuck. :P

KristineJanuary 12, 2006 4:03 AM

How about criminals who use this access to the CCTV to check for dead angles where they can commit $crime without being filmed?

Kristine

dlgJanuary 12, 2006 4:25 AM

I feel the need to invoke Godwin's Law here. A highly "successful" "security" invention in Nazi Germany was the "Blockwart" (the concept has been reproduces by most modern autocracies). A blockwart is a regular citizen working as an informant for the police. Every appartment block has at least one (hence the name). Allowing puclic access to the cameras and an anonymous tipping system is a technologically advanced method of making everyone interested a blockwart.

I see the problem not so much with in privacy implications, the biggest long-term issue will be that this encourages people to be wary of their neighbors, it creates a climate of distrust. For the observer, because you never know, you might be witnessing a crime, and for the observed, because you never know, you might be watched at all times (no need to hint to 1984 there), and maybe by someone who does't like you. Suspiciosness and distrust in a society, especially between neighbors, is a grave threat to security, among other things.

pigletJanuary 12, 2006 9:18 AM

@Mike: Yeah, I know, Britain is said to have a constitution, sort of. Better to say, it has constitutional traditions, which is not the same as having a written constitution with a catalogue of guaranteed basic human rights, as do all other countries (as far as I am aware of).

Britain has signed the European Convention on Human Rights, but... Up to recently, the Convention could not be enforced in British courts, only in the European Court, which makes it much more difficult. This means that British courts had to apply domestic laws even if they knew they were violating human rights. Only recently has a law been passed which makes the human rights guaranteed in the ECHR applicable in Britain, but parliament is still not formally bound by ECHR, and parliament can still, with a simple majority vote, restrict or abolish certain human rights if it wishes (most constitutions make it much harder to restrict basic rights). E. g., Britain is the only European country (the USA and Canada being the other sad examples) legalizing imprisonment without trial in certain cases (they used it heavily in the 70s against republicans in Northern Ireland, and since 2001 against muslims). Britain also has libel laws which no other democratic country would deem consistent with the right to free speech (e.g. the McLible case, currently being challenged in the European court). The Asbos themselves would not be constitutional in many countries because they violate equality and fair trial guarantees.

This state of affairs is sort of ironic given Britain's long and honourable human rights tradition but it can't be denied that human rights are not very well protected in today's Britain.

pigletJanuary 12, 2006 9:23 AM

'The standard form of words is that you all watch the video (or look at a photograph), then the cameraman/photographer takes the stand and testifies that "what you just saw is a true and accurate representation of what I saw through the viewfinder on such and such a date"'

I think the point is that the cameraman witness has to be present at the scene. Just remotely watching a screen doesn't make you a witness. At best, you could confirm the exact time when you looked at the screen, and maybe comfirm that the record is identical to what you saw on the screen at that moment.

pigletJanuary 12, 2006 9:31 AM

The "It's better that everyone can watch than just Big Brother" argument

It's bogus. It's like saying, let's put all government databases on the internet, accessible to everybody. What we need is transparency and accountability. Sometimes, this can be best achieved by making data publicly available (e.g. FOIA) but taken to the extreme, this would be the end of privacy.

pigletJanuary 12, 2006 11:19 AM

Asbos:
"Examples include a prostitute in Manchester being issued with an order prohibiting her from carrying condoms. In the same city, police used an Asbo to prevent mobile soup vans serving up to 100 homeless people a night. A teenager in Oldham was banned from displaying the name of his friends' gang anywhere on his body. A man with mental health problems, and a penchant for solvents, was banned from sniffing petrol anywhere in Teesside. In County Durham, a football-crazy 15-year-old was ordered to stop kicking balls in his local street. A Newcastle car thief was banned from wearing his woolly hat. And who can forget the couple from Blackburn prevented from seeing each other because they argued too much?"
http://www.guardian.co.uk/northerner/idx/...

ThomJanuary 12, 2006 11:38 AM

Once the novelty wears off, how many people are likely to simply be watching it all the time, rather than their day time dramas?

The value would be after-the-fact for review. Assuming they're already being monitored or recorded at a central location, then watching from home is, just that, a novelty.

If they're not being recorded, and the novelty wears off, then they may just be a waste of money.

BradJanuary 12, 2006 3:32 PM

I stayed at a hotel in Chinatown, San Francisco, that had a TV channel in the guest's room which was CCTV view down the main street outside the hotel. I suspect it was so people could see when the meter reader was coming by and go out and avoid a parking ticket, though.

patrick reicherJanuary 12, 2006 7:32 PM

"It is doubleplus bellyfeel goodthinkful to welcome the cameras."

I double-plus-two-feel second that, brother-friend-firstposter. And how is your Mother these days? Gotten over her problem? I really should keep up with local affairs in your neck of the woods more often, fully.

AnonymousJanuary 12, 2006 8:40 PM

With the overdose of "security" & media, we may learn first hand the exprerience of the Belcerebons from Kakrafoon.

That aside, I personally believe ONLY government ("public" officials in "public" office) should be this transparent. There should be video cameras & microphones in every room in the White House (except the bedrooms *ahem*) and the Capital building - all availible via CCTV feed to every individual citizen for free. Private citizens however should not be subjected to public scrutiny.

Public officials, and their actions made in the name of the public, should be immediatly, consistantly and constantly visible to the public that elected them.

If the NSA wants to read our mail, listen to our phone calls, etc. we should be allowed the same freedom to read their mail, listen to their phone calls, etc.. I believe the individual right to privacy trumps any governments claim to "need" privacy.

To rephrase: Public should be public, private/individual should remain private/individual.

BixbyJanuary 12, 2006 8:48 PM

Heh, sorry, forgot to add my name to the post I made above. >.

I'd like to add that if the gov't feels that their privacy would be invaded, well, which foot is the shoe on now?

When the gov't feels that they need to do anything withouth the public's knowledge, that's when we need most to be on our guard.

Dave CJanuary 12, 2006 11:15 PM

@Anonymous at January 12, 2006 08:40 PM
>here should be video cameras & microphones in every room in the White House (except the bedrooms *ahem*)

Why exclude the bedrooms?
Clinton didn't!

:-)

BixbyJanuary 12, 2006 11:32 PM

I get it ;)

BUT Clinton was in an office that should have been wired with public camera and mic - if he and Ms. Lewinsky had disappeard into the bedroom... um well, let's just say the investigation would probably have been alot shorter....

BixbyJanuary 13, 2006 12:01 AM

In conclusion...

I guess the real issue here is why do "they" get to watch "us" (and now we have to worry about us watching ourselves in addition) BUT - - "we" can't watch "them?"

We put their sorry asses in the seats they preside in. How many people in power respect what democracy really means anymore?

AnonymousJanuary 13, 2006 12:17 PM

If they want to track ASBOs, tag them. Leave the rest of us alone.

Recent announcement to link all cameras to store time and location of car plates in databases. Now, more cameras on the streets. Biometric ID cards and facial recognition on the way. Where is it all leading to, and is this the world we want to live in?

I appreciate a society as sophisticated as ours needs control. But I can't help but feel slightly saddened by the whole thing.

AnonymousJanuary 13, 2006 9:50 PM

Anonymous at January 13, 2006 12:17 PM says:
"I appreciate a society as sophisticated as ours needs control. But I can't help but feel slightly saddened by the whole thing."

I respectfully disagree. I believe a society as sophisticated as ours should require *less* authoritarian control. And less surveilance. (If indeed we are a sophisticated society)

Although, I do feel you have hit the nail on the head - surveilance is a form of control.

abcwarriorJanuary 14, 2006 3:04 PM

http://www.spy.org.uk/spyblog/2006/01/...

Surveilance, for good or ill, is here to stay. I think CCTV live footage should be fed into public places. Why should big brother watch us? Why not the community. As this story above suggests CCTV is already being used by 'watcher' to spy on individuals on their own private property. If it is totally transparent and open to public view, then privacy can be properly enshrined in law and openly viewable by all. There's one camera per fourteen people on the UK, that ain't gonna change....may'be innovative ideas should be tabled as a bulwark against the silent errosion of privacy.

WhistleblowerMay 30, 2008 11:54 AM

The drug culture in Oldham, Greater Manchester, England are involved with corrupt police officers and a corrupt government in a gang stalking ring using unusual cameras to spy on guilty people and none guilty people in and outside their homes setting out to ruin their lives, I have read up about gang stalking on the internet and I have found out that it's not just an Oldham thing it's happening everywhere, call me a whistleblower I don't care but people should be aware that England is not has it seems, my best advise to anyone who's not connected to the drug culture is to not get involved with anyone who takes drugs.

For information about gang stalking type in the google search engine (gang stalking) and you will find loads of websites about gang stalkers.

kell kellMay 25, 2009 6:06 PM

Why is everyone sold surveillance cameras when they are just using them to watch other people and evade thier privacy. Authorized personel only should be should them. It's not fair for other people when they are being watched or stalked.

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