Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Security

Britain is the World's Surveillance Leader 640

Posted by michael
from the it's-good-to-be-the-best dept.
hax0r_par writes "It seems that in Britain, surveillance on the general public is happening and being recorded 24/7. They are playing the angle that this is allowing for criminal surveillance, which seems justified by the article. But it really is something to take into paranoid consideration now that we've got the technology to make this possible."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Britain is the World's Surveillance Leader

Comments Filter:
  • by Pete (big-pete) (253496) * <peter_endean@hotmail.com> on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:33AM (#10147113)

    I would welcome rather than fear more cameras on the streets in the UK. There is one thing that privacy advocates are forgetting, for there to be an impact on your privacy there needs to be either a person at the other end of the camera, or an automated consequence.

    With so many cameras, I doubt there is the manpower or the interest for someone to look at them all, only the ones that are really relevent - where a crime or suspicious behaviour has already been reported. After this the cameras are simply pointing out the facts of the situation, and are we really that afraid of facts and consequences of our actions (if those actions are illegal or suspicious)?

    At the moment I feel that I trust the British government enough that this is an acceptable situation, look at the impact the congestion charges [wikipedia.org] (and enforcement cameras) have had on London traffic for example.

    -- Pete.

    • by Oddly_Drac (625066) on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:53AM (#10147192)
      "There is one thing that privacy advocates are forgetting, for there to be an impact on your privacy there needs to be either a person at the other end of the camera, or an automated consequence."

      Nope, us privacy advocates understand this problem, and would like to point out that the camera's deterrent nature falls completely off once the first person has undertaken an illegal action under the camera and *not* faced any kind of punitive action. The majority of cameras are run by third party companies where they can be funded. I happen to live in a town where they spent all the money on the cameras and didn't have enough to staff them. Incidentally, the siteing of the cameras is also illegal under the CCTV extensions to the data protection act. But that's okay, they're the government.

      "I trust the British government"

      Well, I'll continue to be one of those naive privacy advocates until you shift your arse enough to understand that the government doesn't really care if you trust them or not, and that the time when you don't trust the government might be a few days too late to do anything. Also, it should be pointed out that it's local councils that handle cameras outside of the M25, and they've been models of civic pride. Discounting the special deals they make with developers. Or minor cases of corruption.

      • Incidentally, the siteing of the cameras is also illegal under the CCTV extensions to the data protection act. But that's okay, they're the government.

        So, make a complaint to the relevant authorities. If that gets you nowhere, escalate it. If you still have no luck after going right up to the top of the chain, contact the press and your local MP.

        Chances are whoever actually decided where the cameras should go didn't know the rules, but somewhere up the chain, someone will. Speak to them, it's their *job*
      • by Camulus (578128) on Friday September 03, 2004 @05:52AM (#10147610) Journal
        "that the time when you don't trust the government might be a few days too late to do anything."

        I imagine that I will get flamed for this, but I think the statement above is very true, esp. concerning England. Personal ownership of fire arms is a much easier and, in my opinion, much more effective way of preventing crime. Violent crime in Britian as risen greatly since the fire arm ban. Bobbies are now being issued guns. If you want crime to go away, get guns in the hands of the citizens.

        Just to show I am not talking out of my ass.

        Apparently Violent Gun Crime has gone up 20% in the last year [bbc.co.uk]

        " Later in the week the home secretary is to host a summit on tackling gun crime, which figures due out on Thursday are expected to show has risen sharply......It is expected the figures will show a 20% increase in firearm offences in England and Wales."

        Another article from the BBC about it [bbc.co.uk]

        Another Article [csmonitor.com]

        Heu Fox News gets in on the action too, you decide! [foxnews.com]

        In all fairness, I have tried to include several sources and not just gun nut sites in the US. Flame away
        • by TimothyTimothyTimoth (805771) on Friday September 03, 2004 @06:33AM (#10147744)
          Handguns were banned in Britain after a middle-aged hand-gun enthusiast walked into a school and shot most of the kids. At the time handguns were incredibly rare, mainly owned by handgun sporting enthusiasts, olympic competitors, etc. I don't have the figures but I would reckon one houshold in a thousand had one. Hardly a deterrent to burglars. It has nothing to do with the recent rise in gun crime which is being caused by hand guns illegally smuggled in from the Carribean by drugslords. The rise in gun crime is nearly all crimnal-on-criminal killing. I've not heard of a gun being used in a house burglary.
          • by Oddly_Drac (625066) on Friday September 03, 2004 @10:43AM (#10149591)
            " I don't have the figures but I would reckon one houshold in a thousand had one."

            One household in a thousand had a license. The number of guns per license could be a lot larger than one, and usually was, especially amongst collectors.

            "hand guns illegally smuggled in from the Carribean by drugslords"

            You're thinking about miami vice; the handgun trade tends to come via the channel tunnel, it being a damn site easier to smuggle that way than 'the carribean'. Were you going to mention the 'Yardie scourge' next?

            "The rise in gun crime is nearly all crimnal-on-criminal killing."

            And pesky collateral damage, such as the extended shootout that took place in Aston a few months back, but you did fail to mention that holding a gun makes you a criminal under UK law. You could simply say 'human vs human' killing and still hit the same numbers.

        • by illtud (115152) on Friday September 03, 2004 @07:21AM (#10147912)
          Personal ownership of fire arms is a much easier and, in my opinion, much more effective way of preventing crime. Violent crime in Britian as risen greatly since the fire arm ban. Bobbies are now being issued guns. If you want crime to go away, get guns in the hands of the citizens.

          Since nobody in UK (apart from weird tabloid-speak and people attempting to be ironic) use the word 'bobbies', I'm assuming you're not from the UK. This would explain your frankly bizzare linking of the firearm ban (which was ridiculous, IMHO) and the rise in violent crime. Absolutley nobody carried (legitimately) a handgun as a crime deterrent and anybody waving a legally-held handgun at a mugger would find themselves locked up pretty quickly.

          I'm not saying that gun crime isn't up, I'm not saying that the ban was stupid, but to connect the two is a non-sequitur of pretty big proportions.
        • by eyeye (653962) on Friday September 03, 2004 @07:25AM (#10147937) Homepage Journal
          So many flaws in your post I really dont have time to address them all.

          There are 10,000 gun related crimes in the UK - there are 500,000 in the USA where you say "Personal ownership of fire arms is a much easier and, in my opinion, much more effective way of preventing crime".

          The UK has a fifth the population of the USA yet has 50 times less gun crime.

          So.. yes you are talking out of your ass.
          • by JimBobJoe (2758) <swiftheart@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Friday September 03, 2004 @09:29AM (#10148877)
            The UK has a fifth the population of the USA yet has 50 times less gun crime

            This statistic is a little crude because it doesn't take into account very very different levels of gun ownership from place to place. For instance, guns are entirely banned in Washington DC, and DC is often the most likely place to be murdered by a gun in the US.

            On the other hand, there are places here in rural Ohio which are so well armed that they could take over a latin american country, and they have not had a murder in that county since Ohio's inception (and they are not necessarily unpopulated...they often have a pretty good sized population.)

            And of course there are places that are mixed. Much like comparing the gun culture of Switzerland and Israel to the anti gun culture of Japan (former two have low homicide rates, lots of guns, latter has relatively high murder rates, low guns) its the culture that makes the difference, not the guns.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Interestingly, the places in the US with high crime rates are the places with the most gun control (NYC, LA, etc.). Gun control laws were passed because of high crime rates. Crime rates were not thereby reduced. The answer, of course, was more gun control. And here's why:

            "When an ideologue finds himself in a hole, he calls for a bigger shovel." -- Bill Clinton.

            Bill is a smart cookie (he also happens to be an advocate of gun control, but there's no law of logic or nature that says a guy who's right abou

          • --The UK has a fifth the population of the USA yet has 50 times less gun crime.--

            Not trying to be pro or anti gun but..

            What are the statistics on non gun crime, heh? I think th UK would rank up there, but of course gun crime leads to more death.
        • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Friday September 03, 2004 @08:11AM (#10148241) Homepage
          The vast majority of the gun crime rise is due to Yardie violence, which typically involves criminals killing each other in fights over territory and dealers. It's bad, but it wouldn't be any better if people had personal firearms.

          If you want crime to go away, get guns in the hands of the citizens.

          This has got to be a troll. America is one of the few nations with a high degree of personal firearms, and has crime "gone away" there? I think not.

        • I am sure that the EU types will love their gun bans until they manage to extinguish in the name of safety all freedom. If you take the USA's crime rate apart by race you find ours even for guns is lower than England for the persons of northern European ancestry. If this is a product of some racial factor or some sociological factor I don't propose to say. The incidence of murder and other violent crimes appears to have a pretty stable rate for various ancestrial groups no matter where in the world they a

          • Gun bans are not a major obstacle in the way of a revolutionary. When you commit revolution, you will always break laws. Breaking the gun ban is minor compared to the ban on killing government officials.
            • Gun bans are not a major obstacle in the way of a revolutionary. When you commit revolution, you will always break laws. Breaking the gun ban is minor compared to the ban on killing government officials.

              That argument doesn't work. Sure, a revolutionary is going to break laws, but that isn't the only thing preventing a revolution. Arranging them is difficult. Having to acquire your weapons from a source outside of your own country and then import them makes them harder, and increases the chance that yo
          • by ponxx (193567) on Friday September 03, 2004 @09:08AM (#10148703)
            > We saw the number of persons murdered by their respective states reach
            > nearly 200 million. Trusting your personal security to a nation state is INSANE.

            And you really think that in the states where this happened, guns were not ready available to the populace? Most of these 200Mn deaths are due to attempted coups and revolutions and counter-revolutions and fights with "rebels" etc. etc.

            IF the US government starts doing things you don't like, what are you going to do? You really think that handgun in your house is going to stop them?

            You really think that if Germans had had more guns, Hitler wouldn't have come to power? You think Hussain would have been removed earlier if there were even more weapons in Iraq? You think Afghanistand was lacking handguns more than anything else? How about Sudan?

    • by Ford Prefect (8777) on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:55AM (#10147204) Homepage
      There's the slight matter of who watches what the cameras produce, and where that footage gets to [bbc.co.uk].

      If there were more rigidly enforced rules as to what can be recorded and how it can be used, then perhaps the cameras wouldn't be so bad - instead, you can get filmed by dozens of cameras and not have a clue what's being done with the footage.

      Cameras might be helpful in catching criminals, but too many times you see fuzzy, single-frame-per-second, black-and-white video footage of an armed robbery with the police asking if anyone in the public recognises the masked perpetrators...

      Then there's the mast-mounted CCTV cameras in town centres and the like, which merely have the effect of shifting crime out of the field of view of the cameras' lenses...
    • by mccalli (323026) on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:55AM (#10147205) Homepage
      After this the cameras are simply pointing out the facts of the situation, and are we really that afraid of facts and consequences of our actions (if those actions are illegal or suspicious)?

      Facts as seen by who? Suspicious according to what criteria? Into which context will our activities be placed?

      At the moment I feel that I trust the British government enough that this is an acceptable situation, look at the impact the congestion charges (and enforcement cameras) have had on London traffic for example.

      Honestly, you trust the government at the moment (I'm also from the UK)? I certainly do not, and by the dramatic plunge in confidence ratings for Labour I'm not alone (not advocating an alternative party, merely pointing out the failings of the one in power).

      And yes, let's look at the London congestion scheme. Brought in ostensibly to cure central traffic problems, when revenue undershot expectations they decided to extend the scheme to the suburbs against the wishes of 76% of the inhabitants, and today it's announced they're also raising the price. Trffic problems? Revenue raising.

      Also, where do you think the people who used to drive have gone? What's happened to them, what's happened to their quality of life? Or do you feel it is co-incidence that there have been so many Tube failures lately after a surge in passenger numbers and drastic overcrowding on certain lines?

      Cheers,
      Ian

      • by BenjyD (316700) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:25AM (#10147334)
        I just moved out of London because I was fed up with the noise and traffic. The amount of traffic was insane - most days I could have walked on stationary cars in a traffic jam the entire mile to the tube station without touching the ground.

        The number of times I would walk past some poor pedestrian surrounded by paramedics after being hit by a car was insane. Something had to be done about it.

        Almost every car you see is just carrying one person. That's just not sustainable. Charging a toll that's really not that great compared to parking charges is a good way for the city to raise money to pay for upgrading public transport, and to make the car drivers actually pay for the vast damage they are doing.
        • by Tim C (15259) on Friday September 03, 2004 @05:16AM (#10147490)
          Whereabouts did you live? I've lived in London for about 10 years, in various areas, studying and working in Central London the whole time, and I've seen maybe one accident (cyclist hit by a bus).

          Sure, I've seen a lot of traffic james - when I lived in Clapham Junction, for example, in the mornings I'd regularly beat the bus walking to the station (10 minutes walk, give or take) even when starting out at exactly the same time (ie it was right there when I started walking), but my overall experience couldn't be more different than yours.

          a toll that's really not that great compared to parking charges

          That's a good point, and one I've not seen made before - parking fees in Central London are *insane*. You can easily pay 4 or 5 times the congestion charge to park for a day, depending on the area.
          • by BenjyD (316700) on Friday September 03, 2004 @05:35AM (#10147549)
            I lived in S. Kensington, Earls court and Hammersmith (went to uni in S. Ken). I cycled a lot there, and have been hit by one car, one moped and a pedestrian - who ran across the road straight into me from the side. While on foot I've been hit by one car that decided reversing back across a pedestrian crossing full of people was a good idea. Fortunately I've never had anything worse than nasty bruises and cuts to show for them, although that was pure luck. The moped, for example, caught my handlebars and dragged me along behind it for 20 metres down the middle of a six lane road full of traffic before I eventually fell off.

            The worst places for accidents were Fulham Palace road and High Street Kensington. Mostly motorcyclists and bicyclists - I've seen one in which the guy died, although mostly it looks like broken bones and cuts.
      • by mo^ (150717) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:39AM (#10147388)
        On a side note, and in total agreement with your mistrust of out current administration..

        During this years peace rally, for some reason the cameras in central london stopped workign for the duration...

        this served 2 purposes IMHO..

        1, makes it easier for the government to tell us only 500k attended (even police put it at over 1 million),

        2, no footage to support any potential claims of police aggression.

      • Don't forget to add the "oyster" cards used on London transport to the sevalance net. All have a unique IDs in them and the data is retained for 5 years. Every time you get on a bus, train or on or off a tube the date and place is record, to make people use them the are increasing the price of single tickets relative to "Oyster" prepay and of course you need to give a name and address to get one of those cards. "Oyster" cards also have RF tags in them so I would not be supprised to see readers for them in o
        • Don't forget to add the "oyster" cards used on London transport to the sevalance net. All have a unique IDs in them and the data is retained for 5 years. Every time you get on a bus, train or on or off a tube the date and place is record, to make people use them the are increasing the price of single tickets relative to "Oyster" prepay and of course you need to give a name and address to get one of those cards.

          You are forgetting one thing...oyster cards are transferrable if they are pre-pay only (and

    • I would welcome rather than fear more cameras on the streets in the UK. There is one thing that privacy advocates are forgetting, for there to be an impact on your privacy there needs to be either a person at the other end of the camera, or an automated consequence.

      With so many cameras, I doubt there is the manpower or the interest for someone to look at them all, only the ones that are really relevent - where a crime or suspicious behaviour has already been reported. After this the cameras are simply poin
      • At the moment I feel that I trust the British government enough that this is an acceptable situation, look at the impact the congestion charges (and enforcement cameras) have had on London traffic for example.

        Is it the cameras or just the expense?

        The cameras are the only way that the government can enforce the congestion charges. There are no toll gates or places where you are blocked until you pay - you may travel anywhere freely. Hoever, if you enter the congestion charge zone, then your numbe

    • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:10AM (#10147268) Journal
      At the moment I feel that I trust the British government enough that this is an acceptable situation, look at the impact the congestion charges (and enforcement cameras) have had on London traffic for example.

      You trust the government at the moment. Well, that's nice. What about the next government which you don't trust. I guess they'll just go and remove all the cameras then since you don't trust them.

      And also, why do you cite the conjestion charges? They were implemented by Ken Livingston, who was voted in despite the Labour party rigging their internal elections so he wouldn't run under their name. He was in fact kicked out of the party as a result of running for (and becoming) tha Mayor (reinstated now, since it makes the Labour party look good to have a guarnteed winning candidate). So your example of a good government which you trust with speed cameras is actually something independend of the government set up by someone expelled from the ruling party.

      Well, I'm glad you trust that. I don't.

    • by severoon (536737) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:12AM (#10147273) Journal

      As in most things, there are two sides to this issue.

      Side 1. More cameras don't bother me. When will people realize that what they do in public is in the public domain? It is merely the fact that a person isn't physically there viewing you, but viewing you through a remote connection. What is the difference between that, and if the person were physically there?

      To put it another way, if you're on a public beach reading a book, would you feel as if your privacy was being invaded because others might look at that book and know what you're reading? In order that your privacy be maintained, does the beach really have to be empty? Conversely, if the beach is crowded is your privacy more compromised somehow than if it were empty, because more people can see what you like to read?

      Of course not...read a book in public, the public will know what you're reading. If you don't want people to know what you're doing, don't do it in public.

      If you think cameras mounted around town is the worst "invasion" technology has to offer...just wait. We already have cameras so small they fit in a pair of eyeglasses--in the next hundred years I wouldn't be surprised to see people having devices such as cameras and phones implanted in their bodies. A camera embedded in the eye with a terabyte flash drive could record a lot of video--all day, every day. That means, if I have such an implanted device and I stroll into the men's locker room at the local health club, I could record what I see and open a peep show porno site. Anyone could.

      Our ideas will undoubtedly change about privacy. If there's another person around, in the not-too-far-off future, I believe you will have to acquiesce that what they see the world may potentially see.

      Side 2. More cameras create a power imbalance. While it is true that the purpose of the cameras is for good, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. One must be wary of keeping a proper power balance so that, should someone on the power side decide to misuse their access, they would still be limited to the realm of the reasonable.

      For instance, does our Constitution favor the individual over the government, or the other way around? Does the Bill of Rights protect the rights of government and guarantee certain powers and inalienable rights to the government? Do criminals have to prove their innocence, or even show a preponderance of the evidence? (The answer to that last one is: neither--the state has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a much higher standard than a simple preponderance of the evidence.)

      Why is there an inherent mistrust of government and authority built into our founding document? It is because the Founding Fathers were wise in knowing that nameless, faceless organizations take what they can get and use it to the full extent possible. This is not to place a value judgment on such behavior, it is simply a fact of life because governments, like all organizations consisting of people, include lots of different people with lots of different views on what is and what is not ok. Agreement must be, to some extent, forced upon them when it comes to the invariants of the social contract.

      Do cameras everywhere rise to the level of creating a significant power imbalance between the individual and the state? I'm not sure...I see the usefulness of cameras used by private business (banks, convenient stores) and I do not yet feel they've invaded my privacy. Then again, private businesses are owned by individuals, which are usually not organizations that can extend the reach of a government.

      • by stephenbooth (172227) * on Friday September 03, 2004 @05:04AM (#10147460) Homepage Journal
        Why is there an inherent mistrust of government and authority built into our founding document? It is because the Founding Fathers were wise in knowing that nameless, faceless organizations take what they can get and use it to the full extent possible.

        Bear in mind that under contemporary definitions your 'Founding Fathers' would have been considered dangerous terrorists.

        The founding fathers were pretty much driven by paranoia of a geographically and socially distant government becoming plutocratic and disconnected from the governed. That is why one of the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights is that of the states to raise and train a civil militia (and the right of the civilians to keep and bear arms for participation in that militia) to oppose and even overthrow the federal government. Given their experiences such paranoia could be considered some what justified.

        Stephen

    • by NexusTw1n (580394) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:22AM (#10147318) Journal
      I think other countries have to understand the British obsession with binge drinking and random physical drunken violence to appreciate why we don't really care about the amount of CCTV.

      When it is just you and a bunch of drunken yobs on the street, you may still get the crap beaten out of you or mugged, but at least with CCTV you stand a good chance of getting them caught and convicted.

      We now know it does reduce crime, and increases detection and conviction rates, all at the cost of some imagined "privacy" while in a PUBLIC place.

      CCTV has caught child killers, rapists, drunk drivers and so forth, in return there is footage of me scratching my arse while waiting to cross the road , which will be kept for a month or so before being taped over.

      Hardly a terrible price to pay all things considered.

      When the government passes a law mandating all cameras have to be digital, all digital footage has to be kept forever, and connected to a government face recognition system, then I'll be concerned.

      As it stands most footage is erased after a month, and is stored on hundreds of individual unconnected systems. Hardly Big Brother.
      • It has some effect at reducing opportunist crime in areas with CCTV. The muggers just tend to move elsewhere.

        CCTV is also frequently of such exceptionally poor quality that facial recognition is all but impossible. Typically we're shown a grainy black and white and asked if we know anyone who was wearing a dark top with a white stripe across it.

        My main problem with the CCTV thing however is that most of them are staffed by private companies which are not under direct governmental control.
    • by Armchair Dissident (557503) * on Friday September 03, 2004 @05:22AM (#10147508) Homepage
      At the moment I feel that I trust the British government enough that this is an acceptable situation, look at the impact the congestion charges [wikipedia.org] (and enforcement cameras) have had on London traffic for example.

      With respect, this is the same government that introduced the RIP act. When they later attempted to expand the act, they were forced to back down due to popular protest. They later expanded it anyway.

      This is the same government that last year suggested the idea of "Voluntary entitlement cards" and stated categorically that they were not going to be compulsory identity cards. The consultation headed by "Millenium Dome" Falconer discarded all responses that were sent via the faxyoump service, despite clear assurances that they would be recognised and claimed that the voluntary card was accepted by the public. This year we learnt that the government was bare-faced lying and intended to introduce the cards as compulsory identity cards all along (it's laid out in bold font in the legislation proposal). Blair defended this position by stating that the Falconer consultation supported compulsory id cards. Even though the consultation was for a voluntary system, and even though it demonstrated the lack of support for it.

      This is the government that attempted to stop a group of train crash survivors from getting a public investigation into the crash by hiring private investigators to determine what the political affiliations of the survivors were.

      This is first government since the 1970's to introduce internment, which worked so wonderfully badly last time. This is also the government that sought to limit the right to trial by dury, and has seriously considered reducing the burden of proof for serious offences to "balance of probabilities".

      I'm glad you trust this government, but their record is not an honest one that merits trust.
    • At the moment I feel that I trust the British government enough that this is an acceptable

      Well, that's the problem, see. When the government changes, or becomes less trustworthy, or whatever, the cameras will still be there. Besides, trust is damn hard to measure (I'd argue impossible), and an entities level of trustworthyness can change overnight. I would prefer to base my privacy on something more solid than mere trustworthyness.

      I'll go with David Brin [davidbrin.com] on this one: we must be able to watch the wat

    • The reason you trust your government is because at this particular point in time your definition of a criminal act happens to loosely coincide with that of the powers that be. However, the assertion that sometime in the future for your children or grandchildren that pleasant circumstance may not exist is more a historical fact than any tin foil hat wearing paraonoia.

      When it comes to issues of civil liberties, it's a good excercise to imagine the most extremist views in your society that you disagree with a

  • Everyone--from good hearted people to downright argumentative trolls--misses the point on spying.

    I don't care about online privacy. I'm not worried about government spooks sifting through my e-mail or web surfing habits and finding out that I like brunettes with long legs, long hair, and almond shaped eyes. It really doesn't concern me. If it were some supercomputer sitting in a back room chewing through e-mail looking for "homicide, suicide, terror, assassinate, secret, password, 9/11" or some other stupid set of keywords or tracing kiddie porn that'd be fine by me. At least until the anti-pr0n people decide that moral righteousness has no bounds and start coming after willing adults with no real sex life and a speedy net connection.

    Face it. We live in the real world. People in power let it go to their heads and they often use it for purposes other than those in which it was given to them for.

    What I'm worried about is that the guy down the block is an FBI agent. Or CIA. Or NSA. Or some local politician who knows one. One day I'm walking down the street and a candy wrapper drops out of my pocket onto his lawn. Now this guy is such a straight laced Bible thumping tight a__ POS that he uses his political muscle to find out who I am and begin harassing me. "He dropped a candy wrapper on my lawn! He's a litterer! He's no good for society! Besides, I saw him carrying home a six-pack of beer! He must be an alcoholic as well!"

    Where's the check and balance? There is none. Who could prove it? No one. Who can stop it? No one.

    Echelon, Big Brother surveillance, the Anti-Terror bill. They all suck for the same reason that the Windows registry sucks: there's no way to secure them from people misusing them to hijack the system.
    • > Where's the check and balance? There is none. Who could prove it? No one. Who can stop it? No one. Where's the surveillance in your scenario? It made no sense to me whatsoever. > Echelon, Big Brother surveillance, the Anti-Terror bill. Echelon is comparable, but even Blunkett isn't trying to get surveillance cameras in our homes, and having surveillance cameras on the streets doesn't take away Habeas Corpus, so the other two aren't comparable.
    • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:43AM (#10147153) Journal
      You are entitled to see any footage recorded of you at any time - not that this is (yet) commonly done, but there was a politically/comedy-orientated issues show (forget the name, could have been Gorman) where a host filmed his attempts to get the camera footage that he knew he was caught on.

      You can't just walk into the records office and say "I want all camera footage of me at any time in any place", but you can obtain footage if you're more specific - how specific I don't know. Perhaps if more people did this (and then sued if the footage wasn't forthcoming) the authorities would be less likely to be so keen on them...

      I've said it before and I'll say it again, the only way I'll be happy with continual surveillance of such overwhelming magnitude is if *all* the footage from *all* the cameras are available online - the average MP is going to be a lot less happy about cameras being used left, right, and centre if he knows he'll be caught speeding at 4:00am by some anorak

      That said, the vast majority are in London (which visitors to the country think is typical - it couldn't be farther from the truth!), and a huge percentage of the headline figure are the CCTV cameras in shops that point at the counter, all privately owned and I don't have a problem with them if they help prevent robbery.

      Simon
      • by BenjyD (316700) on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:52AM (#10147187)
        It was Mark Thomas [mtcp.co.uk], political comedy genius.
      • by irn_bru (209849) on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:57AM (#10147216)
        The Comedian was Mark Thomas [mtcp.co.uk], a sort-of British Michael More, albeit with (usually) more reasoned arguements. His website still includes [mtcp.co.uk] helpful information about your rights to see CCTV footabge that has been taken of you.

      • Maybe this isn't 100% related, and some people think that traffic cameras are good (I'm not one of them), but here in Belgium you can obtain the pictures made by a traffic camera if you get fined by simply asking for them.

        The problem is that, if you do that, the authorities state that you are not cooperating. They automatically deny a settlement, and you have to go before a police judge. Unless you supply overwhelming evidence - you are considered guilty by default, and you have to prove you're not - you
      • It's quite easy to get footage, *if* it's relevant to you. I asked the concierge of the blocks of flats I stay in about this. There are perhaps a couple of dozen cameras dotted about the place, all of which is recorded and kept for 30 days or so. If, for instance, I wanted to get footage of someone I suspect had bumped my car in the car park, all I'd need to do is tell them when it happened, and show them the logbook for the car (to prove the car is mine and I'm not stalking some random).
      • Many other cities in the South-East UK have cameras too. Reading is full of them, for instance, and I think Manchester is too.

        However, the bulk of cameras in stores are not to catch thieving customers but to catch *employees*. There are decent gangs of shoplifters in the UK who operate by getting jobs in stores, with seemingly good qualifications, and then lifting from the till or waving accomplices through without taking payment for goods. With chain stores it's quite hard, but a lot of them are franch
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:36AM (#10147124)
    If you're in a public area, being recorded is fair game. It's no different than if a store employed security gaurds to watch over you while you shopped, or having a police officier stood on the corner watching everyone go buy. People get all uppity because it's technology, and we all know technology is bad, right?

    I was attacked several years ago. Unprovoked; they were drunk, I was drunk. Anyway, the attack resulted in me being partially blinded in one eye. The police never caught the idiot who did it; not that they didn't try, but I couldn't exactly give them a good description. I wish there had been a camera at the spot where it happened. I fucking wish! So don't bleat on about personal privacy, because you've already got it. Unless you're in public.
    • by Diplo (713399)

      I get the impression that the majority of people who vehemently oppose surveillance cameras live in nice, affluent suburbs lined with picket fences and friendly neighbours. How nice for you.

      Tell you what, try living in an inner-city hell-hole, where you are in constant fear of being attacked. You think car bombs outside police stations are something that only happens in Iraq and not in the UK? Think again [icnetwork.co.uk]. You try living in an area where people think it's fun to throw hand-grenades [bbc.co.uk] through your windows. T

      • I get the impression that the majority of people who vehemently oppose surveillance cameras live in nice, affluent suburbs lined with picket fences and friendly neighbours

        ...so you're going to generalise. Speaking for myself, I live in inner-city Glasgow (15 years), I've previously posted in this thread about my father-in-law (lives in a Coatbridge scheme), and, for the record, prior to living in Glasgow I lived in central and North London (Hackney - you may have heard of it).

        My opposition to ubiquitous

  • Cameras (Score:3, Informative)

    by azbot (544794) on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:39AM (#10147131)

    Having just moved to London From New Zealand, I found the amount of CCTV cameras a little surreal. They are everywhere. But non-the-less; it is nice to know that perhaps even if just a placebo, they cameras tend to make things a bit safer. However, as my flatmate found out, cameras don't protect your household.

    The streets may be safer, but your possesions still arent - Perhaps thats is why insureance is so high over here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:40AM (#10147135)
    The Principality of Monaco (Monte-Carlo) has always had cameras, gvt informers and can legaly tap any conversation anytime. They can send cops inside your appartment anytime they see fit also. There isn't much you can do because of the medieval legal system.

    I know that to keep the dialogue alarmist, they mention that ONLY the UK has been a victim of the 1984 school of thought (hey, Tony Blair's socialism is very social hey?! The Torries would have never been allowed this. Oh well, good one Tony.)
  • Patriot Act (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    But at least the UK doesn't have something as utterly vile as the Patriot Act (though if Blunkett has his way we will pretty soon)
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:42AM (#10147146)
    CCTV cameras have been around in numbers in the UK for a long time. Did it stop the IRA from bombing London some years ago? of course not.

    A perfect proof, if one was needed, that putting a country under surveilance may have a little effect on petty high street thieves, but most certainly has nothing to offer to curtail terrorism, and everything to do with controlling the populace.

    Orwell.......grave........spinning
    • by Oddly_Drac (625066) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:19AM (#10147306)
      "Did it stop the IRA from bombing London some years ago? of course not."

      Different timelines. Cameras didn't hit their current ubiquity until after the bombing campaigns started to tail off when Sinn fein and the British Government starting talking in the wake of Clinton politicking between the two parties. The 'ring of steel' around downing street followed the mortar bomb attack, and cameras followed after that, but only in central London. Sod the populace as long as the PM is okay.

      However, there have been more than several drunken fights outside my house (under a camera), and our town's crime statistics have stayed constant. The police are royally pissed because the cameras have been used as a justification to reduce their numbers in the local area, meaning that cars are administered from the county centre roughly 25 miles away. Calling the police tends to result in a 30 minute delay for them to divert a car, and they act as a visual deterrent more than anything else.

      I'm less bothered about the drunken fights (they happen the world over) than I am the complete erosion of the policing of our towns. I'm more bothered that my tax money (council charge, paid to the local council in opposition to wage taxes, which go to central government) being used to buy a camera system that is patchy and considered a replacement for a warm body and brain in a uniform.

      "may have a little effect on petty high street thieves,"

      Almost none. There was a TV report of a man running a shop who'd invested in a state of the art camera system...put it this way, he dumps the footage to DVD. Now sinee he'd put the camera in, he'd had 250 cases of shoplifting. How many convictions off that? 5.

      Basically, when the police arrest someone, the Crown Prosecution Service has to determine whether they can win a case and whether it's in the public interest to convict. So while it's obviously correct to try and convict Paul Burrell of stealing from *Our lady of grace, Princess Diana* [sarcasm intended], after her death, petty theft is not. Case in point. My sister and GF were attacked in the street. The attacker was known as someone who assaults people. The police said that they couldn't press charges because the woman in question had children and it wouldn't be in the public interest to remove a violent prat from the streets. THAT is what we contend with daily in the UK. We're by no means a police state, we just have the apparatus at the hands of the incompetant.

  • by eraserewind (446891) on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:44AM (#10147156)
    There's another article on the Guardian today about this kind of topic, though this one is only about tracking criminals. Welcome to the prison without bars [guardian.co.uk].
  • Panopticon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hachete (473378) on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:46AM (#10147162) Homepage Journal
    Well, we did invent the panopticon.
    http://users.rcn.com/mackey/thesis/pa nopticon.html

    Good old Jeremy, whose stuffed corpse is still on display in in one of the institutes in London. He also wanted everyone - well, everyone except the well-to-do - to have the equivalent of bar codes on their foreheads. A man before his time, obviously.

    The ironic thing is that these cameras have had little or no effect on behaviour or the crime rate. Mind you, there was no systematic monitoring to test the crime-reduction effects of cameras in the first place. Just a wild hysteria which amounted to "put those cameras up or they'll kill all our children."

    h
  • But does it help? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    All dandy but my question is does the UK have less criminality than comparable nations?

    I'm afraid the answer is NO.

    And very strong rules need to be aplied to WHEN en WHO can use this information.
    In the UK anyone can (and does) install such systems that look at public spaces and use it for any purpose, not just catching the obvious criminal!

    Without clear laws to protect the privacy of the innocent this WILL eventually get out of hand.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm all for ubiquitous surveillance of the public, but I think it should be a two-way street.

    I think all politicians should be monitored and recorded, as well as all civil servants [especially the police] - pretty much anyone in a position of power over others, in fact.

    The technology's there, but it'll never happen - for some strange reason we're expected to trust those in power [for example, the word of a police officer is considered to be beyond doubt in court - but why? They're people, people lie.]. I
  • Cameras yes,but.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by imsabbel (611519) on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:47AM (#10147171)
    The usa is still unbeaten for tapping all major comsats. (echelon anyone?).
    If you send an international fax or do an call, you can be sure it will be scanned. Yeah.
    (btw Due to this practice, some american corps filed patends that had the same writing errors as internal documents of european corps, which were only faxed between company locations....)
  • It doesn't take a genius to work out that it is going to be misused, even if it is only petty larceny," said Kittow.

    "Petty larceny". Oh, very English. A journalist making up quotes, perhaps? Or did they find an American van driver to ask about what the British think?

    • Actually, larceny is a term from English law, deriving from the Anglo-Norman larcine.

      There used to be two types of larceny in English law Grand and Petit. These legal terms are no longer used, but the term "petty larceny" still pops up in conversation.

  • by dr_labrat (15478) <spooner@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:49AM (#10147175) Homepage
    ..welcome our comera wielding overlords.


    No, honestly!!


    Brb, someones at the doo....fds.....4.

  • by Lurker McLurker (730170) <allthecoolnameshavegone@gmai l . com> on Friday September 03, 2004 @03:54AM (#10147203)
    I don't care how many security cameras there are. I care about whether or not their use is properly regulated. What s considered to be suspicious behaviour? Can we be sure footage doesn't fall into the wrong hands? How long is footage kept for? Can I be sure that I'm not being filmed without my knowledge?

    As long as the checks and balances are there, I'm happy. Governments have always been able to spy on people, what matters is that people are participating in the political process and maing sure they have the power to resist any wrong the government does (note that I'm not talking about owning firearms. Owning guns doesn't give you power over a government- they can always afford bigger guns). Accountability is the key.

  • Good or bad ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Metatron (21064) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:01AM (#10147231)
    It is certainly becoming a very big thing. The cameras are everywhere inside and out. I've even been into pubs that have forced people to remove their hats / caps as it would help obscure their faces on the cctv cameras.

    Is this a good thing or not ? Thats the difficult question. There is such a fine line between civil liberties and fighting crime, if you aren't doing anything wrong, then you are supposed to have nothing to fear, but then you don't have to be breaking the law to want people to not find out where you are and what you are doing - it depends on who has access to the information and how it can be used ... and thats the difficult part.

    Personally, I think overall I like the CCTV cameras. They are quite popular here in Britain, mostly helped by big cases that attracted a lot of media attention that have been solved and people caught all thanks to CCTV, (Jamie Bulger etc). Do we have to sacrifice some smaller parts of freedom to live in a more secure society ? possibly, yes. It would be great if we could trust everyone, but unfortunately we can't. Don't forget what freedom really is, the freedom to vote for our political leaders, express our opionions freely, live wherever you like, travel wherever you like, set up business, trade, have children, not have children, cover ourselves in baby oil and rub up and down ... oh hang on ;-) .... but I think you see what I mean :-).
    • Re:Good or bad ? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Oddly_Drac (625066)
      "people caught all thanks to CCTV"

      Dude, you're so missing the point. What happened to challenging people in the committing of a crime? what happened to actually taking an interest in keeping your own community safe? What happened in not handing over responsibility to local councils to keep you safe at night?

      "Do we have to sacrifice some smaller parts of freedom to live in a more secure society ?"

      Argh. So you want to keep trading those small bits of freedom to feel safe while the media fills you
  • by kahei (466208) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:11AM (#10147272) Homepage

    The extremely pro-defendant legal system in the UK makes it _very_ hard to get a conviction for a violent crime such as assault without the use of these cameras. This is a very important factor. Even _with_ the cameras it is still probably harder to get rid of eg the local mugger in the UK than in the US.

    So, we see here how a liberal law (making it hard for the police to convict someone for 'just being a scumbag') actually leads to an authoritarian situation when the need comes to make the system actually work.

    Not that I particularly object to the cameras, compared to some other Blair-era changes to the UK system...

  • tin foil (Score:4, Informative)

    by Frogg (27033) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:13AM (#10147280)
    I live in the UK, and a good sensible measure that I've taken to recently is to line not only my hat with tin foil, but my shoes, socks, trousers, shirt and jacket too. As far as I can tell, it seems to stop the cameras from looking at me.

    Ok.. UK Data Protection Act states that fixed cameras are ok, but if they can zoom or move, then you must comply with the act. To comply with the act you must have a nominated data-protection manager in your company (responsible for cycling tapes, answering public enquiries, etc), you must not place cameras where you shouldn't (toilets/etc), you must display the necessary signs (you are not (meant to be) allowed to record anyone without their knowledge) with contact details as to who is responsible for the cameras and who the 'data-protection manager' is, and if you operate cameras of a non-fixed kind any member of the public is entitled to make an enquiry, and providing they give reasonable information (time, location, description of appearance, what you were doing, who else was present, etc), and pay a handling fee of no more than £15(?) then you must either invite that person in to the company to inspect the footage, or (and?), make it available on standard playable video cassette -- and they have to block out the distinguishing features (black strips, mosaic fuzziness, etc) of anyone else who was present in the footage, but not immediately involved with the person in question.

    I might've missed something, but I think that pretty much covers it. You can get advice and template letters for making such enquiries from a variety of places on the net, including (i think) from the UK government's DPA website.

    It's all fairly serious stuff, lots of businesses (particularly night-clubs and restaurants) don't fully comply with the act (no visible signs in recording areas), and I'd be certain that they'd be unable to produce the required video footage if it were requested.

    It sucks really.

    Shit -- must dash, some of my tinfoil is more than 24hrs old, and needs replacing.......
  • by alanxyzzy (666696) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:16AM (#10147289)
    The mobile phone operators can track your position, sometimes to within a few tens of metres, if your cell phone is switched on, whether or not you make a call. They always log your position if you make a call, whether or not you are being singled out for special monitoring, and keep this data for many months.

    Have a look, for instance, at ChildLocate.co.uk [childlocate.co.uk]

    Some more links:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-8593 96,00.html [timesonline.co.uk]
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,690 3,1101683,00.html [guardian.co.uk]
    http://www.followus.co.uk/ [followus.co.uk]

  • by tezza (539307) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:16AM (#10147290)
    Six weeks ago I got slashed in the face by a guy with a knife on Chalk Farm Road, in Camden [camdenlock.net].

    I chased him about 600 meters but he ran into a dark council estate and was not that stupid, the guy still had a knife/friends and I had neither.

    The police came. Lots of them. Ordinary bobbies and 5 pairs of CID. I retraced the route. There were 10 CCTV camera along the route that I chased him, and NONE of them were pointing the right way to capture this guy, over 600m. The only footage was from a Sainsburies private CCTV that he ran in front of. The police say Camden is one of the most surveilled areas in London.

    Just not that bit.

  • Trafficmaster (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alanxyzzy (666696) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:25AM (#10147330)
    The article makes no mention of TrafficMaster [trafficmaster.co.uk].

    This private company has erected thousands of cameras on blue poles on major roads around the UK. They scan the number plates of cars, and (allegedly) strip off the leading and trailing alpha-numeric, encrypt the result, and transmit it to a central computer. This can make an statistical analysis of the congestion based om the time for a car to pass two cameras.

    How can one be sure that the system has not been compromised by the security services?

  • by Stephen (20676) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:43AM (#10147405) Homepage
    What you have to understand about these cameras, is that the vast majority of people in Britain -- Slashdot readers excepted -- think that they are a good thing, and believe that they help keep towns safer.

    Now you can argue about whether the population is naive, or misled. But you also have to wonder about what democracy means.

  • by Builder (103701) on Friday September 03, 2004 @04:49AM (#10147426)
    Two weeks ago I witnessed an act of vandalism at Mansion house tube station. Two female youths threw a bottle at a train waiting on the platform, spraying glass along the platform and the train.

    There were two camera filming them. I also photographed them with my camera phone. I reported the problem to a station worker, who was not interested in dealing with it, so I reported it to British transport police (after 3 failed attempts, but that's another story about law enforcement in .uk :))

    After a week, they came back to me and said that they were unable to take any action as the footage from the CCTV wasn't clear enough to ensure that the people I took the picture of were actually the people throwing the bottle.

    This is the second or third time I've seen CCTV fail miserably.
  • by hamishmorgan (652803) on Friday September 03, 2004 @05:47AM (#10147596) Homepage

    I think the first thing people have to remember is that the CCTV cameras in the UK are not some huge centralised network where Blair can press a button and see me sitting at my laptop in the park. It is decentralised, set up and run by shops, bars, clubs, councils, etc... Enemy Of The State is a cool film, it is also rather silly.

    The Brittish government, while I wouldn't go so far as to say I trust them, are relatively benign when it comes to nation affairs. There are laws protectly us from the missuse of these cameras and if we can't relay on governments abiding by the (national) law then we are all screwed anyway.

    I worked for some time in a small shop in a "difficult" area. Sometimes I would be working on my own late at night and my only friend was the CCTV. When trouble was bruing I would say "Smile for the cameras, I'm phoning the police now." Okay this doesn't tackle the route causes of crime but anything that prevents it being perpetrated on me right now is a very good thing.

  • by ttys00 (235472) on Friday September 03, 2004 @06:16AM (#10147683)
    Having just arrived in London (from Australia), I am amazed at the number of cameras everywhere. The maintenance bill must be horrendous.

    The Aussie government would love this level of camera surveillance, but its not feasible - they'd all get stolen in the first week.
  • by TyrionEagle (458561) on Friday September 03, 2004 @07:04AM (#10147827) Homepage
    How is it invasion of privacy when you are filmed in a public place?

    If there were cameras installed in my house, I would have privacy issues, but not in the town centre.

    No-one has issues with cameras in banks, shops or ATMs. No-one asks tourists to delete photos that include them in the background.

    Why is it such an issue in public places if the camera is run by the police?

    Does anybody believe there are hoards of analysts checking these tapes for individuals in real time?

    Do you believe everybody is interested in you?

    Do you believe the guv'mint is keeping tabs on you, where you walk, what you buy, who you talk to, just because they can?

    Does anybody actually identify with Mel Gibson's character in Conspiracy Theory? Are we being tracked by the metal strips in our currency?

    I believe this is just a mistrust of the unknown thing. In the distant past, our campfire light didn't illuminate the woods, so there were trolls, gnomes, elves and pixies in there. Same thing these days, but it's Aliens and secret guv'mint departments, because we don't know what they are up to.

    Paranoia is no way to live your life, relax, you are not the centre of the universe, nobody cares about you, you are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are a member of a mass, you do not stand out.

    Unless, of course, you are all criminals and have your faces in the image recognition software that will call down an airstrike from black helecopters as soon as you are identified!

    That was a joke, by the way. :-)
  • by tiger_omega (704487) on Friday September 03, 2004 @07:41AM (#10148029)

    I prefer that cameras are about the place. But there is a deeper underlying social problem about why the cameras have proved so popular. People feel safer now that the cameras are there because at the end of the day they have proved to be one of the best ways to secure a proper guilty verdict for a crime that they commited. So justice is properly served.

    The underlying problem comes from 2 different directions. The first comes from the problem of that spread by political correctness. The public and the police have to be so careful when dealing with yobs because the way their rights and laws are written you can hardly lay a finger on them. The best you "legally" do is to try and talking them down.

    So the "legal" choice for the average member of the public is to be nice to them and understanding. Off course they can stab your guts, rip off your head and skull fuck you. Its got to the point where social services are recommending to judges [bbc.co.uk] that prison sentences should not be handed down for violent murder but given community service or fines.

    If I tried to defend myself then I run the risk of being sent to prison, having my career runined and sued for endless damages. Personally I no longer care about those consequences because if someone is going to try and kill me then I will kill them straight back. I like to do deal with people based on how they treat other people.

    This leads into the second problem which is the profession that was supposed to be law has turned itself into a hippocritcal mob. Basically the law profession has forgotten a mere concept called "The spirit of the law". That is to use the laws that have been passed for the intention for which they were past.

    Or more the point that I am making about lawyers is that the law should be there to protect and support the vicitm. Not to be used as an excuse to take the vicitim to court and try destroy his/her life.

    Now the specifics of the arguement above are a symptom of a deeper social problem more flowing from political correctness than doing what is actually right. So I come full circle back to the cameras. Politians don't mind this state of play because by using cameras the goverment are seen to be protecting people. They also like political correctness because they don't go offending anyone. So given that they encourage the apathy of the public and that in "protecting" their citizens they are sliping in an Orwellian society.

    There is one comforting fact though. If anyone is caught abusing this power they will experience the social equivalent of being hung-drawn and quatered. The tabloid press in this country can be a nice balancing force at times because the people with the power still fear those wanting to publish a dirty story on them.

  • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@@@earthshod...co...uk> on Friday September 03, 2004 @10:02AM (#10149208)
    CCTV cameras are not used against terrorists, drug dealers and paedophiles.
    They are mostly used to catch people peeing in the street (locking up public toilets is always a good way for a council to raise some revenue), rolling joints, and other petty things. In my experience CCTV cameras have not reduced littering; camera-equipped streets are just as full of crap as everywhere else.

    CCTV cameras do not reduce crime, they merely displace it.
    Once the locations of CCTV cameras become known, criminals simply avoid them and commit crimes elsewhere. There was an incident in my home city where somebody went around spraying paint on every property in a street except the ones covered by cameras.

    CCTV cameras are widely abused.
    CCTV monitoring is unregulated. Often monitoring centres are filled with dirty old men letching at attractive young women, occasionally attractive young men. Sometimes the monitoring operatives will be so busy spying on a particular "target" that a real incident will go unnoticed.

    CCTV cameras do not provide an undo button.
    By the time the crime has been committed, it is already too late. Stolen property may be recovered; but the greatest probability is that it will already have been sold on by the time that the authorities get around to investigating the incident. Rewinding a tape will not bring a dead person back to life, nor will it undo the psychological damage caused by being a victim of crime.

    CCTV cameras do not provide incontrovertible evidence.
    CCTV footage is often of insufficient quality to enable an arrest to be made. There have been many cases where tapes have been "accidentally" lost, erased or never even loaded into the recorder. It is also possible that CCTV footage -- especially if stored digitally -- could be tampered with.

    CCTV cameras engender a false sense of security.
    The lumpenproletariat expect that CCTV will protect them from the "evil people", and as a consequence take less responsibility for their own security.

    The potential costs associated with CCTV cameras outweigh the benefits.
    Imagine the misuse of CCTV if an extremist group such as the BNP somehow managed to take power. We have pretty much taken for granted the right to come and go and carry out our business without anyone else knowing or caring about it. What if something that you currently enjoy doing became illegal?


    The greatest cause of crime in Britain today is drug prohibition. A dose of heroin which costs pennies to manufacture sells for £10; most of that goes on the costs associated with hiding the business from the police. Since dealing is already illegal, there is no incentive for dealers to be concerned with product quality nor customer welfare. There is a definite disincentive against users seeking help to break a habit, because to do so might involve betraying friends. (Altruism is hard-wired into humans, for the sake of survival of the species as a whole; but is bypassed entirely in times when an immediate need is present. An addict, especially of painkillers, needs their drug with their whole body, in the same way as you or I might need food, or water, or the toilet. If you are ever so careless as to get so desperate that you have no alternative but to take a huge crap right in the middle of a crowded shopping street, I guarantee you that you will not feel one iota of remorse or embarrassment until after the deed is done. Unsatisfied need overrides everything else).

    Nicotine is reckoned to be more addictive than heroin (though the different legal status undeniably distorts this statistic), but is legal and -- compared to heroin -- it is cheap to maintain a nicotine habit. (The illegal smuggling of rolling tobacco from the continent, where taxes are lower because there is no NHS, is known about, and largely tolerated, by

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

Working...