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New CCTV Site In UK Pays People To Watch 214

pyrosine writes "Have you ever felt like being paid for watching live CCTV footage? The BBC are reporting CCTV site, 'Internet Eyes' is doing exactly that. Offering up to £1000 to people who report suspicious activity, the scheme seems an easy way to make money. Not everyone is pleased with the scheme though; the Information Commissioner's Office is worried it will lead to voyeurism or misuse, but what difference does it make when you can find said webcams with a simple Google search?"
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New CCTV Site In UK Pays People To Watch

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  • by dugeen ( 1224138 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @05:06AM (#33805646) Journal
    I regard surveillance cameras as constituting a blanket false accusation of ill-intent against all persons who come under their purview. No-one should be spying on me unless they have a pre-existing, genuine good faith suspicion that I'm up to no good, and allowing random internet maniacs to participate in the surveillance merely increases the offence. Where possible I'll be withdrawing contact from all organisations that collaborate with this evil scheme.
  • by Wowsers ( 1151731 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @05:07AM (#33805656) Journal
    Cue the stupid people in the UK who will say the tired out line "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear." Strangely the phrase does not apply when people like politicians, footballers and the film / record industry have something to hide, who run to the courts for crooked "Super Injunctions" to protect their criminal behaviour / scandals from being made public.
  • by White Shade ( 57215 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @05:21AM (#33805720)

    I don't feel threatened by surveillance cameras in public places at all, indeed, I feel safer knowing that if someone does pull some shit, there's at least a possibility that there'll be some footage of it...

    Once the surveillance gets into our homes and private work spaces and whatnot, then that's a problem, and a serious one...

  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @05:34AM (#33805788) Homepage Journal

    mod +1,000,000 - sense in the face of knee-jerk reaction whiny bullshit attitude

  • by seeker_1us ( 1203072 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @05:47AM (#33805856)
    The massive CCTV system hasn't changed crime statistics in the UK.

    I don't expect this will help either, but it will help the UK citizens think those cameras are there to help keep them safe from criminals.

  • by JohnFluxx ( 413620 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @05:47AM (#33805864)

    What useless rhetoric. Next up, there are some people who are in favor of taxes but still do tax evasion. And some people are in favor of police, but still commit crimes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @05:51AM (#33805882)

    It sounds nazi era to me. Where does the german queen of England get her ideas? Where does her grandson get his fancy dress ideas? You vill answer me, yes?

  • by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:04AM (#33805934)

    Most crimes are committed in boardrooms and government. Let's put CCTV there.

  • by olden ( 772043 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:13AM (#33805978)

    Well, unlike you [White Shade] I feel that so-called wholesale surveillance, if left unregulated, even "just" in public places, would become a threat, a violation of everyone's right to privacy and dignity.
    Today we have cameras. To prevent crime we're told (but studies seem to indicate that doesn't work). UK especially. More and more, networked, centralized. With now Joe Sixpack watching too (brilliant, really). Plus license plate OCR to enforce traffic restrictions, with such info logged to some big-ass database and cross-referenced to car owners details. Software also tries to analyze and pick "suspicious" behavior. Next is facial recognition (too unreliable today, but technology only improves). All in all, logging everyone's moves relatively cheaply seems doable in a not-so-distant future.

    Now would you consider a detailed list of all the places you went to (e.g. stores, bars, relatives, friends, doctor's office, lawyer...) free for anyone to look at (your spouse, your ex, your boss, your parents, the government...) or just your own damn business?
    Where do we draw the line?

  • by addsalt ( 985163 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:20AM (#33806014)

    ... in reality, schemes like this are positive for society. The only problem would be if they started putting cameras in houses, but nobody has actually done that before, and nobody in their right mind would even try it in a democracy.

    Why wouldn't the rhetoric that cameras in public places help prevent and prosecute crime not easily transfer over to "private" places? I would expect that most abuse and a fare share of murders occur in private places. Think of how many murders could be solved (and prevented) if we had cameras in houses. We would completely get rid of meth labs. Obviously the only people who wouldn't want a camera in their house are the ones who want to continue doing these illegal activities. Why should I get to commit crimes just because I put up a lean-to and it is now magically a "private" place.

    The concerning thing about 1984 is that it IS a "democratic" society, that is controlled by fear. If I am so scared of crime in public places, why would I not be scared of crime in private places?

  • Give it a week... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:26AM (#33806050) Homepage

    ... and they'll be shut down, just like the last bunch that pulled this scam. Loads of people will sign up and lose their money. Six months down the line, we'll see more of timmeh's hysterical squealing about how evil Britain is, as the scammers start up again.

    Yes, there's a law against this sort of thing.

  • by digitig ( 1056110 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:38AM (#33806080)
    "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" is only valid if those collecting and handling the data are competent and benign. Whether that's a counter-argument depends on your view of those collecting and handling the data, but there are very few organisations I would consider to be competent and benign.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:45AM (#33806114)
    Why are you hiding your email address and your real name?

    What are you, paranoid or something?
  • by olden ( 772043 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @06:49AM (#33806134)

    At the end of the day, if you don't commit a crime, the presence of a camera will not affect you.

    Wrong. It affects everyone, in a lot more ways than you think. Simple example: visiting any "embarrassing" place (medical facility, sex-shop, late movie, badly rated restaurant or bar...) is perfectly legal, yet I bet most people would behave differently if the footage of a camera at such places entrance was publicly available and/or archived forever, instead of only kept by the owner and for a short time.
    More arguments against that stupid "If you have nothing to hide..." line []

  • Big Brother (TM)? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:11AM (#33806264)

    Wow - the ultimate reality tv: really watch reality, on tv! I don't know if this is funny or just sad.

  • by wzzzzrd ( 886091 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @07:25AM (#33806342)

    Clearly they have or they wouldn't be asking the public to watch for them. This is not an invasion of privacy, the cameras are in public places

    I'm SO sick of this false argument about "it's already public!". Just to make it clear, so even you can understand it: when I walk in public, yes, you can see me, but in order to see me, you need to be NEAR ME. Which is OK. Now, with CCTV, you do NOT to be NEAR ME. Thus, the number of eyes that can see me walking in public explodes. Al-right? There is a difference between "public" and "tv show stage".

  • by laederkeps ( 976361 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @08:01AM (#33806484) Homepage
    Supply and demand.
  • by duguk ( 589689 ) <[ku.oc.garf] [ta] [gud]> on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @09:57AM (#33807566) Homepage Journal

    Where in that article does it say they only solved 10 crimes?

    That's per year. It's simple mathematics. Says in the article there are 10,000 cameras, It also says that 1 in 1000 crimes are solved by CCTV per year.

    It's saying crime has dropped by around 20% in each area.

    Where does it say that? It says the clear-up rate for crimes is around 22% - but it generally has always been around that figure - 78% of crimes are unsolved.

    It does say underneath "the money spent on cameras would be better used on street lighting, which has been shown to cut crime by up to 20 per cent." - that seems a far better choice to spend money on.

    I'm happy with things like putting in better lighting rather than cameras if it's shown to better cut crime levels


    (though both is ideal because then you still have a record of the remaining 80% of crimes still happening in the streets).

    Doesn't work like that. Installing street lighting would decrease it by 20%. Installing CCTV would decrease it by 0.1%, and probably not further. The two are quite exclusive!

    Also, the cost of CCTV (£2000/year) has got to be far greater than installing street lighting.

    My main issue with people's arguments here is not about the effectiveness of CCTV anyway, it's frustration at the attitude that they shouldn't be filmed while out in public.

    I haven't a problem with being filmed in public, so long as it is used properly. Being checked on occasionally is fine. Being followed around by a CCTV operator with a stalking obsession; or using it to blackmail my non-existent wife - isn't. We don't even know what the controls on CCTV are - but I know someone who is a CCTV operator, and knowing the kind of guy he is, really worried me.

    I think it's a great thing to be doing, especially considering for example some of the abuses of Police power going on that we're only able to see now with the popularity of YouTube.

    I'd agree if it wasn't for things like the attack on a 50 year old man [], coming home from work, recorded on camera, beaten by police from behind; and the police being let off. More details here []. It's certainly not the first time CCTV has been ignored - or as others have mentioned, damming evidence on CCTV completely disappearing.

    The more people are aware that they are accountable, the better behaved they are.

    I've worked for a number of years in schools, and have met a number of drugs users. In schools at least, the less you trust the students, the more trouble they cause. We had a unusual trick of those students being caught 'hacking' (sic), were given more access, and not punished. It worked unbelievably well. It's not necessarily accountability that makes people better behaved, but often is down to education, or a feeling of unfairness in life.

    Being constantly watched only helps to promote paranoia to all people, you can see this by the number of people scared of CCTV! I'm sure that common criminals and drug users are far less caring about being caught.

    Not only that, but CCTV is crap anyway. Have you ever tried it yourself? Imagine quite how bad it is.

    You've seen yourself, the crime figures seem to indicate that CCTV doesn't help anyway, and certainly is costing a lot more money and stopping crime less than it would just to install street lighting.

  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @10:12AM (#33807754) Homepage Journal
    Nobody in their right minds would try any of the following in a democracy. So please go about your business, and don't worry!
    • Illegally detain drivers without probable cause ("sobriety checkpoints")
    • Segregation or "Apartheid" (20th century USA and S. Africa)
    • Place citizens in internment camps (FDR in WWII)
    • Jail citizens for seditious speech (Wilson in WWI, Sedition Act under Adams)
    • Slavery
  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @11:31AM (#33808974) Homepage Journal

    It just makes you want to steal things doesn't it? :)

    Indeed. Most of the engineers have access to a printer that's located in a room full of paper, spare IT equipment etc. This manager wanted to restrict access to only managers in case people stole things, and her example was some mice lying out on a shelf, which cost £5 each. We're paying our engineers £40k a year and she was worried about £5 mice and buying cheaper coffee for the coffee machines.

    I hate that attitude, being so ready to make work a living hell for people, for the sake of saving a couple of pennies.

    Again I agree about saving money where it clearly is providing no real benefit though. I just get so frustrated at the groupthink here sometimes and can't help arguing for the sake of it, even when I know I'm going to get flamed to hell.

  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:42PM (#33812654) Homepage Journal

    So? The real story there is not about CCTV, it's about Police abuse of power. It happened to me the other day that an officer was trying to tell me not to do something, when he couldn't actually tell me what law I was breaking. The fact he didn't like it and he had a uniform and a Police car seemed to him to be enough reason to try and tell me what to do.

    Stories like this don't mean we should stop making use of technology, they show that we should place better safeguards against abuse of power, and educate people better on how to protect themselves against Police etc. I usually just cave in even if I feel I'm in the right, because the Police are used to getting their own way and I don't know if they'd start getting physical/arrest me for insulting them etc.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"