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Government Privacy

One Crime Solved Per 1,000 London CCTV Cameras 404

SpuriousLogic writes "Only one crime was solved for each 1,000 CCTV cameras in London last year, a report into the city's surveillance network has claimed. The internal police report found the million-plus cameras in London rarely help catch criminals. In one month CCTV helped capture just eight out of 269 suspected robbers. David Davis MP, the former shadow home secretary, said: 'It should provoke a long overdue rethink on where the crime prevention budget is being spent.' He added: 'CCTV leads to massive expense and minimum effectiveness. It creates a huge intrusion on privacy, yet provides little or no improvement in security. The Metropolitan Police has been extraordinarily slow to act to deal with the ineffectiveness of CCTV.'"
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One Crime Solved Per 1,000 London CCTV Cameras

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  • Sure, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rm999 ( 775449 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:10PM (#29179523)

    Sure, but how many crimes did it prevent? I always considered cameras more of a prevention, i.e. only idiots commit crimes in front of cameras.

    Obviously, another question is how many crimes simply moved to areas without cameras.

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeadPixels ( 1391907 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:13PM (#29179551)
    Great point. While I personally don't think that they're much of a deterrent, especially as people grow used to them, it's definitely a valid angle to examine before taking action.

    Don't get me wrong - I feel that the CCTVs are a huge breach of privacy and I'd have to have them where I live - but I do think it's unfair just to look at a single statistic and take action based on that.
  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:13PM (#29179559)
    i would really hate to have my privacy intruded upon while walking around in public ;p

    of course it is a waste of funds, all the money spent on those camera would probably pay for an extra dozen police cars or hire several more police officers to patrol the higher crime infested areas...
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:14PM (#29179583) Journal

    The current ones suffer from being blurry, so ID can not be made. If they upgraded to HD quality, then they could see the criminals' faces.

  • by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:18PM (#29179615)
    CCTV cameras are a one-time installation cost (with a minor amount of maintenance). Regular police forces are a continuous cost.

    A million cameras capture 1 per 1000 = 1,000 criminals caught per year. The following years should catch an equivalent number - for little additional cost. This is one of the basic problems with news reporting - if the BBC had splashed a big story headlined "CCTV Cameras Catch 1,000 Per Year", there would be an entirely different public reaction.
  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:19PM (#29179621) Journal

    To me that's like saying, "I'd hate to have an officer standing on the corner and policing my neighborhood." The purpose of having eyes on patrol is to stop the criminals, or at least apprehend them later so they don't harm any future victims. It doesn't matter if those eyes are organic or electronic. The law gets enforced in both cases, and our human rights protected from those who want to cause us harm.

    The only place where you can really expect privacy is inside your home. That's always been true.

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Cowar ( 1608865 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:20PM (#29179633)
    Locks only keep honest people out of your house. A hoodie + hat or other facial obfuscation = entire purpose of the camera has been defeated. Criminals know how to defeat simple measures, it's what they do. So I would say that probably 1-2% of criminals would be completely deterred from robbing somebody, stealing a car, or whatever, but the rest would just scout out the cameras and not look at them and wear a hoodie to prevent good angle/shot of the face, or simply wear other methods of obscuring their faces.
  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeadPixels ( 1391907 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:24PM (#29179663)
    Yes and no. I see a difference between an officer of the law - who should be able to be held accountable for his or her actions - and a recording device, which allows any number of people to monitor the behaviors of countless numbers of pedestrians. To illustrate my meaning, try thinking of an example where an officer observing something would likely not cause as big of an uproar as leaked video footage.
  • by DirtyCanuck ( 1529753 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:26PM (#29179683)

    "Sure, but how many crimes did it prevent?"

    If I was somebody who was aware of the failure of the cameras in terms of identification I would simply stop caring they exist.

    In EVERY situation there are cameras it is a excercise in futility.

    For Example:

    In highschool we would do various illegal activities in the back. They put up cameras. We got scared. After about a month we stopped caring and it was business as usual, but we got more sneaky and better at our activities. We even would stage large fights right in front of the cameras with absolutely no mediation.

    Moral of the story is that nothing beats an on duty cop/teacher in person patrolling. All these cameras have done for London is made them the base for 1984 jokes for the past few years.

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by masmullin ( 1479239 ) <masmullin@gmail.com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:30PM (#29179719)
    Yeah CCTV catches every nose pick, every ass scratch, every groin adjustment and potentially offers these images to the world
  • The trade-off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noren ( 605012 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:30PM (#29179723)
    For the price and upkeep of 1,000 CCTV cameras I would expect that one could deploy at least one additional meat-based law inforcement unit complete with two eyes. This creature, that we'll call a 'police officer', might be expected to solve more than one crime per year.

    Absolutely I would hate to see the limited government dollars allocated for police protection squandered on inefficient ways such as CCTV.
  • by geckipede ( 1261408 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:39PM (#29179797)
    But nobody is intimidated by them. They're not like speed cameras where you can be certain that anything you do wrong will be noticed. We all know damn well that on the other side of the lens there isn't an army of jack-booted thugs waiting to haul us away, all there is watching us is a bored person sitting in an office surrounded by screens, and that person doesn't care.
  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:44PM (#29179835) Homepage

    There's another possibility: that criminals are idiots, commit their crimes in front of cameras, and still don't get caught. From reading UK police blogs, I conclude that this is the closest approximation to the truth. The difficulty of finding the camera evidence and getting it into court in a form that the court will accept prohibits their use for all but the most high profile crimes.

    The debate (such as it is) should be: is it worth having all those cameras to catch a few murderers? Anything else is a strawman.

  • by GTsquirrel42 ( 624871 ) <heirpixel AT gmail DOT com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:48PM (#29179881) Homepage
    One huge difference: cameras can't actually apprehend anybody. There are cases upon cases of crimes being commited directly under watch of a camera that are never solved. Whether it's because the perp is wearing a hat or they never return to the city or whatever, were there an actual officer there it could have been stopped then and there: the crime would be prevented AND the perp could be taking directly to gaol, no passing GO. A woman being assaulted and saying "oh, we got it on camera so we /might/ be able to catch the guy" isn't going to feel any better until he's actually caught. Telling her they can't catch him because he was wearing a hat or the camera was turned 5 degrees too far to the left is just pouring salt into the wound.
  • by frosty_tsm ( 933163 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:49PM (#29179891)

    i would really hate to have my privacy intruded upon while walking around in public ;p

    Solid point. However, there is a difference between:
    - Your actions going unrecorded in public
    - Your actions being recorded as a matter of chance (someone random taking your picture or accidentally including you in one)
    - Your actions always being recorded.

  • ONE THOUSAND?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uwnav ( 1009705 ) * on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:49PM (#29179895)
    Lets have your grandma walk down the street, get mugged, break her hip and be traumatized. How many CCTVs would you be willing to put up to reduce the chances of that ever happening again? This privacy thing is getting incompetent, when you're in the public.. you're in the public. Unless someone has CCTVs pointing into your house. Appreciate the fact that if someone knifed you in the street, you have a better chance of catching that person
  • Re:The trade-off (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:50PM (#29179921) Journal

    I disagree. Most cops don't solve anything. They show-up after the fact and clean-up the bloody mess, because no single man can cover 1000 different locations, nor can he can work 24 hours a day, or locate a criminal he's never got to see. At least with video cameras you cover a wide area and can rewind the footage to identify the asshole.

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:56PM (#29179973) Journal


    It doesn't seem to bother you when you do it in front of me, and I surreptitiously snap a photo with my cellphone. If you don't want these images leaking, stop picking your nose or grabbing your crotch in front of everybody.

    Or just be like Michael J, and don't care.

  • by qbzzt ( 11136 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:56PM (#29179975)

    The cameras are mostly a one-time cost. However, to have people monitoring them is a continuous expense. Given the relative costs of technology vs. labor, I suspect that's a large part of the cost.

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @07:58PM (#29179995) Homepage

    The problem I have with surveillance in general is that I don't trust the decision of who is labeled a "criminal" and what is labeled a "crime" to be sane. Sure, I can walk down the street today, minding my own business, and I know it's not a crime, but can I tomorrow?

    I'd rather that anything involving "minding my own business" go unmonitored.

  • by ex_ottoyuhr ( 607701 ) <ex_ottoyuhr AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:02PM (#29180031)

    By your logic, there was nothing wrong with Guantanamo Bay.

    The right answer is not to dive into the ethically dubious (or the ethically outrageous, in the case of using torture); it's to look for the solution that works best, not the solution that sounds scariest. CCTVs are security theater with particularly creepy overtones; sustained police foot patrols are a better way of helping grandmothers, and anyone else. See also my comment just below, linking to Dalrymple on the lack of police commitment.

  • Re:The trade-off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MadnessASAP ( 1052274 ) <madnessasap@gmail.com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:08PM (#29180085)

    On the other hand when a cop sees someone commit a crime he can arrest him on the spot, all a CCTV camera can do is watch, unless of course the person happens to be wearing something that obscures his face or a headband studded with IR LEDs. In which case your camera is useless. Furthermore you can put a hell of alot more then just 1 cop on the street for the price of a 1000 cameras.

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twostix ( 1277166 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:15PM (#29180145)

    "Dad of 6 is beaten to death by gang"

    "The attack is believed to have been recorded by two nearby CCTV cameras. Police are currently studying the footage. "

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4161/is_20061015/ai_n16785042/ [findarticles.com]

    "Student beaten to death yards from home"

    "Detectives, who will examine CCTV footage, want to speak to a cyclist who was seen in the area. "

    Do you think the sorts of crimes that CCTV cameras are supposed to "prevent" are committed by well mannered, forward thinking and highly analytical individuals?

    There's a big disconnect between people on these tech sites and reality of the mindset of much of the lower class.

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:18PM (#29180183)
    Actually, I would hate to have a police officer standing on the corner. There's no crime near my house, so an officer is not going to improve things. Instead, he's probably going to get bored and spend his time trying to find me guilty of something.
  • by FourthAge ( 1377519 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:20PM (#29180207) Journal

    I disagree with this for two reasons.

    Firstly, this is the "Windows Vista" style of "upgrade". CCTV is no substitute for a real policeman. The presence of an actual person is reassuring to the law abiding and off-putting to the crims.

    Secondly, in the 1800s, "Bill the Copper" was not an arm of the Government. Have a look at Robert Peel's original principles: "the police are the public, and the public are the police" [wikipedia.org]. Of course it is not like that any more. The Government has been interfering with the police, mostly making their job harder, which is why we now pay for almost-useless window-dressing substitutes such as CCTV and Community Support Officers, while the real officers sit in their stations filling out forms, occasionally reacting to crime after it has happened.

    You can read all about this on various UK police blogs, which make a fascinating read. Start with http://inspectorgadget.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com] ; a lot of other interesting sites are listed in his blogroll.

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:24PM (#29180237) Homepage Journal

    You won't object if City Hall mandates that all entrances and exits are monitored, 24/7 then? Why stop there? Great Britain is going to install cameras into some targeted homes, to see that children go to bed on time, do their homework, etc.

    Personally, I object to the concept of a police state.....

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twostix ( 1277166 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:25PM (#29180243)

    It's nothing like the twisted distortion of reality that you have attempted to portray here.

    If the police wish to follow my every movement then they need a court order - it's called surveillance and yes when in public if someone is following me around writing down everything I do and say that is not protecting my "human rights" that's violating them in a huge way. It's called harrasment and stalking if a police officer does it without the legal authority handed down by a judge on a case by case basis to do so.

    Your pathetic attitude toward mass state surveillance is quite depressing by the way, and no a camera can't protect your "human rights"

    "CCTV captures chilling moment drug-fuelled thugs beat OAP to death"

    "Hells Angels Member Beaten To Death in Sydney Airport"

    "Dad of 6 is beaten to death by gang"

    All happenened in front of or right next to CCTV cameras.

    Time to grow up ey?

  • Re:The trade-off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:28PM (#29180273)
    I think you're either greatly over estimating the cost of a police officer or greatly underestimating the cost of installing, maintaining and monitoring videos. A thousand cameras is going to cost you a pretty substantial sum of money to keep in repair.

    On top of that, criminals no where the cameras are pointed, if you spend enough time around them you can spot which way they're pointed without looking too hard. On top of that a police office can be sent to other areas of the city as needed and get information which is completely inaccessible to a camera. And an officer is already there and in these parts ready to respond to anything that might be going on, not just crimes, but medical emergencies and such as well.
  • by twostix ( 1277166 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:51PM (#29180479)


    "Bill the Copper" didn't used to follow everyone around writing down their every action while in public and storing it to be retrieved at will by the current or future government.

    On the other hand "Ivan the KGB Agent" and "Wilhelm the Stasi Agent" did.

    See the difference?

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jack9 ( 11421 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:57PM (#29180531)

    As I posted before, crimes are comitted and recorded throughout London. The newspapers had a number of stories of theft committed, recorded, reported and...nothing. Even knowing the time place and description of the person wasn't cause for the police to sift through the tapes. The cameras do nothing to deter most crime with such common knowledge.

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:03PM (#29180571)

    To me, it's like saying, "I'd hate to have a policemen who follows me around all day, personally policing everything I do except for inside my house (for now)."

    The laws were written with an understanding that there wouldn't be 100% enforcement. The police would catch the worst cases, and let people off sometime.

    If every law were enforced fully, you would be surprised how oppressive it could be. You probably break the law a dozen time a day without realizing it.

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LifesABeach ( 234436 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:04PM (#29180583) Homepage
    I know that the use of Statistics in this case is foundation-less; but I know of one of the biggest crimes on the planet that went on in the U.K. and was not caught using their ubiquitous cameras. And that is when Bernie Maddoff [yahoo.com] went to his English Accountant and Embezzled Billions of Dollars. I'm beginning to wonder how many chairs were also purchased to solve crimes on cameras; it doesn't take Sherlock Homes to figure out what path Law Enforcement has chosen.
  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jhol13 ( 1087781 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:05PM (#29180589)

    So maybe the cameras are positioned wrong or are not of high quality enough?

    I would like to see a study why the cameras did not help. Too high in the ceiling so baseball cap obscures too much? Analog or low resolution so the picture is a mess? Couldn't catch license plate of run-away car?

    I have no clue what such a study would reveal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:08PM (#29180627)

    The rate of alcohol consumption per capita in the UK is double that of the 50s. (sorry, was reading that the other day but I didn't bookmark it, some UK paper)Crime goes up the more drunks you have. Just human reality. Drunks don't care about *anything*, they lose the ability to think straight, cameras or no cameras. They'll act out aggressively without a second thought, or do other stupid stuff like pull street crime. Drunks or druggies, an easy wallet or purse grab plus a bit of sport making people hurt, they dig it.

    That's not all the reasons for increased crime, but it is a big part of it.

    Anyway, those cameras....this is my real point. Bull SHIT it was to reduce normal street crime, it is conditioning to get people there to accept full big brother action, and they have for the most part. One step at a time. First in public, now they are going to be putting them in "problem family homes". After that is accepted, they will expand the list so more fall under the "problem" category (like the US has that totally illegal and should have caused regime change by now big brother "no fly" list that all the cowering "flying public" herd animal peons accept, so it is no better there).

      Once they have enough cameras installed under the "problem family" category, they'll go all the way to every place, every home, every business, every building and all over outside. And if you refuse, well there you go, you are now a "problem", you are a "resister" so they have a precedent to do it that YOU accepted before without revolt as long as it wasn't "all that bad".

    If you wait until it "gets that bad", well gee, it IS that bad then and you blew your chance to stop it and now are stuck in some hideous north korean styled society, just with better tech, and you WON'T be able to revolt or stop things then. They already disarmed the population there, fed them that crap about "reducing crime". What a crock. Have to retreat inside your own home..and they get people to accept that insanity...I mean..damn

    You change things before they "get that bad", or accept your shackles and keep your eyes lowered and mind your masters. There is NO middle ground there, and you won't be negotiating with your owners either, nor their armed bully boys.

      ALL societies eventually reach that stage, no exceptions. Tech keeps getting better as history marches on, but despotism is ALWAYS the end game with societies that let government have more power than the people, and it turns into an "us versus them" deal and the ones with the most weapons and power and authority win, or there is a revolution and everyone loses because they waited too long to keep things sane.

        So keep drinking heavy, blitzed into perpetual stupidity. They *want* you that way, "solving street crime" is NOT their main priority.

        That's one of the ways they keep their herds under control. Petty crime, or even a rise in serious crime, is a trivial expense for them to have their populations dumbed down and compliant and accepting all sorts of crap like surveillance cameras, no fly lists, data bases, more and more regulations and "permits" needed for this or that. Drunkeness, drugged, illegal and "doctors prescription" drugs, bread and circuses plus disarm the serfs and peons and heavily arm the state's bully boys=controlled populations. That's the formula they always use.

        1% masters controlling 99% of the people, and it is apparently easy to do, it keeps happening over and over again.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:32PM (#29180833)

    Let's fine you every single time you break any law.

    31mph in a 30mph zone-- fine by mail the next day. One for each occurence of course-- so every 1250 feet, another fine-- as long as you are breaking the law.

    Spit on the sidewalk?

    Drop a piece of paper on the sidewalk?

    You probably don't have any idea how many times a week you break the law.

  • by Behrooz ( 302401 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:32PM (#29180835)

    According to the British government, there has been a 48% decrease in recorded crime since the peak in 1995, which seems to argue that the proliferation of cameras and draconian gun control have been effective in protecting the safety of Britons.

    Unfortunately, recorded violent crimes have approximately doubled since the current record-keeping system was implemented in 1998, and there are compelling reasons to believe that most other categories of crime are now being massively underreported [city-journal.org], suggesting that crime problems in Britain are getting much worse despite a near-total ban on guns and the installation of millions of surveillance cameras.
    I'd say something isn't working...

  • by codegen ( 103601 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:36PM (#29180881) Journal
    Nice reference. Standard boilerplate crime reporting. Now show us the follow up article where the police actually find something useful on the CCTV footage and catch the bad guys..
  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anarchduke ( 1551707 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:25PM (#29181293)
    That's a bunch of crap, just because you are jonesing for a fix, doesn't make you stop taking simple precautions. Sure there are stupid criminals, but taking drugs, especiallly stimulants, tends to make you kind of paranoid. They would probably be more likely to scan the area for cameras.

    You seem to think that people suffering withdrawal are little more than zombies, unable to think about what they are doing.
  • by Yousef ( 66495 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:13PM (#29181693)

    Ahhh... but local councils have turned it into a prodigious cash cow by catching motorists making minor traffic infractions and fining them... as my father found out last week.

    But think of the Children/Terrorists/Drugs....

  • by indiechild ( 541156 ) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:45PM (#29181987)

    Exactly right. I think the cameras in London are largely ineffective for actually preventing crime, and not always helpful when solving crimes after the fact either.

    My friend has been burgled twice and each time he caught some fantastically clear 640x480 frontal and side-on shots of the goblins in the act (he leaves the webcam running and uploading captures via FTP). He was even running Adeona and got the IP addresses of the perps who stole his laptops and gear, but the police never did solve the cases.

    Seems to me that the only thing you can do is set up an immediate notification service to alert you when webcam movement is detected, and then call the police or immediately run home with a baseball bat.

  • by asifyoucare ( 302582 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:04AM (#29182113)

    How the hell is that off-topic? The low definition is a major reason why they aren't being used to secure convictions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:47AM (#29182355)
    Grow some fucking balls and stand up to your gov all-fucking-ready.
  • by CowboyBob500 ( 580695 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:44AM (#29182645) Homepage
    draconian gun control

    Over here in the UK we don't care about whatever amendment allows you to carry guns. We don't want them and we don't need them.
  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by amck ( 34780 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @03:17AM (#29183071) Homepage

    Experience has been that anti-social crime drops for 2-6 weeks when cameras are installed, after which people forget about the cameras.

    Real criminals take counter-measures, such as wearing hoodies, hats, etc. and the cameras drop in effectiveness.

    The typical response to this has been (1) ban hoodies and hats (this is London, not LA, folks; it rains). (2) Assume things will get better when we get 100% coverage, and can track them back from the shop they robbed to their home. Then the criminals dress like businessmen and take a taxi ...

    In practice, the cameras are far less effective than spending the same money on having police walk the beat. I don't want cops to solve my murder, I want them to prevent it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @03:17AM (#29183077)

    The spin here is that "have been solved with the help of" does not really mean that much. It was part of the evidence collected. "have a CCTV investigation strategy" means even less, what they are saying is that they have a box on their flowchart saying "consider cctv".

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @03:38AM (#29183199) Journal

    I realize I'm a bit late but I think it needs to be said:

    In a world where you don't get hunted down if you so happen to fit the newest image of absolute evil, yes, total abolishment of privacy could indeed be a good thing.

    Unfortunately, in our world we prosecute people based on skin colour, sexual orientation, political stance and so on and so forth. People don't have to be guilty of a crime to get shunned. As long as this situation remains, privacy is the last bastion of freedom we have.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@NosPam.hartnup.net> on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @03:53AM (#29183299) Homepage

    I bloody hate litterers, so I'd be happy to see you getting fined every time you did it. You'd soon stop. Me, I don't do it.

    Speeding, similarly: we only consider moderate speeding as a grey area, because we're so seldom punished for it. Fix that and people would stop doing it.

  • Re:Sure, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @07:48AM (#29184499)

    That is the problem right there. You think that because somebody is in public, that person has no right to privacy. I think that I still have a right to privacy.

    If I walk by a cop, he will see me pick my nose and the next day he will have forgotten about me. The worst that can happen is that he says 'I saw somebody pick his nose' and that will be the end of it. If I rob an old lady, the cop will see hit and arrest me if I were stupid enough to do it in front of him.

    With a camera my nose picking will be for all to see for an indefinite time. Then when the camera sees me rob an old lady, they will need to try and find me and there will be a 1 in 1.000 chance that they do.

    To me a police walking around is not "the enemy". In fact if they are friendly (and I knew a few of them) it is nice to talk to them and have a beer with them. To me he is not there to get me, he is there to prevent that somebody else gets me.

    To me there is a huge difference between my privacy and your right to put everything you see online. The way you explain it, stalking should be legal.

    Or in other words: the rights to privacy should be opt-in (I agree that you take and publish my picture) not opt-out. And if there are 10.000 people who you would need to ask, you might say? Well, that is YOUR problem, not mine and if you think that you can't fulfill those demands, then don't take the picture.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @07:53AM (#29184525)

    I wonder how many police officers they could fund instead; or how much training, public outreach, and useful equipment that could buy?

  • by tonyAG ( 655960 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:52AM (#29185143)
    I've always believed that "to solve crimes" was only a lame excuse to allow Big Brother to monitor the citizens.

    Like many of the issues discussed here it really is about 'control'. Who has it and who wants to dictate it.

    I've come to the conclusion that I fear an out of control Government more that I fear terrorists/serial killers/Death Flu/etc
  • by tmosley ( 996283 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:36PM (#29188489)
    That's what the Armenians thought, until their government slaughtered them. That's what the Kulaks thought, until their government slaughtered them. That's what the Jews thought, until their government slaughtered them, that's what the Hutus though, until the Tutsis slaughtered them. This goes on and on.

    Every great genocide in the 19th century was preceded by a government decree either that citizens couldn't own guns, or that a targeted minority could not own guns.

    An armed society is a polite society. Your streets are now ruled by hooligans. You are afraid to go outside at night. You are more likely to be mugged. If you are mugged, you are more likely to be injured or killed in the attack. Enjoy your rule by thugs, both in government and on the streets.
  • by mpe ( 36238 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @02:40PM (#29190407)
    London Underground is full of cameras. How many captured anything on the day Jean Charles de Menezes was shot and killed?

    Initially it was claimed that non of the cameras at the station were working. Indeed the police repeatedly changed their story and their claims were disputed by just about every witness. Those involved appear to have literally "got away with murder".At the recent G20 protests in London where the police "kettling" tactic was widely criticised and hundreds of complaints about police behaviour resulted, how much evidence from CCTV has been produced to show the police acting reasonably? Compared with how much amateur footage shot with mobile phones and the like?

    Also a bystander was assaulted by a police officer and died. This would appear to fit the definition of "manslaughter". If the assault had been by a member of the public they would no doubt have had their identity splashed across the media, been arrested and charged. Some time later two police dogs died in a car, already been annonced that the police officer responsible would be prosecuted. It now appears to be the case, at least in the UK, that if you are going to get killed by a police officer it's better to be a dog than a human!

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling