Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CCTV Nation: Orwell in motion...

H/T Signal94, Source

AN increase in closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras risks turning Britain into an Orwellian society, a senior police officer said in an interview broadcast today.

The deputy chief constable of Hampshire Police, in south-east England, Ian Readhead, said he did not want to live in a country like that in author George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984, with surveillance on every street corner.

"I'm really concerned about what happens to the product of these cameras and what comes next," he told BBC television, highlighting the fact that a village in his area had installed CCTV, despite crime rates being low.

"If it's in our villages, are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation with cameras on every street corner? I don't think it's the kind of country I want to live in."

He also called for a review of speed cameras and limits to the retention of DNA, which is taken from anyone arrested even if they are not charged. Britain's DNA database is the largest in the world, with 3.6 million samples.

There are an estimated 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain – one for every 14 people. Every person is caught on camera about 300 times each day. A new system of "talking" CCTV was unveiled earlier this year.

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas last year warned that Britain was becoming a "surveillance society" where CCTV cameras, credit card analysis and travel movements are used to track people's lives minute by minute.

A study by human rights watchdog Privacy International last November ranked Britain bottom of the democratic Western world and alongside Russia for its record on protecting individual privacy.

Police and supporters of CCTV argue that the system plays a crucial role in deterring crime and catching criminals and that the innocent have nothing to fear.


At 9:37 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

"Every Step You Take" is an excellent, but critical new documentary about video surveillance in Britain (it has just premiered at a film festival in Austria, coming to Britain / US soon):



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