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CCTV Cameras In UK Get Loudspeakers 484

Posted by kdawson
from the 6079-smith-w dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "Big Brother is another step closer in the UK where the ever ubiquitous CCTV cameras are being fitted with loudspeakers so that camera operators who spot activities deemed 'anti-social' can berate the citizens below. In January 2004 there were more than 4,285,000 CCTV cameras in the UK (roughly 1 for every 4 households). No data about the number of CCTV cameras now in use in the UK is available."
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CCTV Cameras In UK Get Loudspeakers

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  • by mukund (163654) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:02PM (#16125107) Homepage

    Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

  • by aftershockbtc (905141) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:05PM (#16125114)
    Can they play the 1812 overture?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by parasonic (699907)
      Can they play the 1812 overture?
      Please add 172 to that number. We are only ten years behind them in the US.
      • Re:interesting... (Score:5, Informative)

        by liquidpele (663430) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:25PM (#16125194) Journal
        He was referring to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture [wikipedia.org], if you're not sure why go see the movie V for Vendetta [wikipedia.org].
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Yvanhoe (564877)
          And If you have watched the movie, help repair the horrendous reality distorsion field it provoked and go read the original comic by Alan Moore instead. Cause believe it or not, the movie is an example of political correctness
          • Re:interesting... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @03:18PM (#16125923) Homepage Journal
            The formula is:

            1- See the movie, enjoy.
            2- Read the book, enjoy.

            If you read the book first, you won't enjoy the movie because the movie is NEVER as good as the book.
            See the movie, then read the book: It's the only sane thing to do :)
            • Re:interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Elemenope (905108) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @04:54PM (#16126298)

              I disagree heartily. Certainly the way most book-to-movie adaptations are done, its true, becuase the director (or screenwriter) can't get it out of their head that cinema is a completely different medium in almost every way. It's like directors think its like porting between operating systems, when it should be more like writing it again from the ground up in a different language. You approach a problem differently in LISP than, say, Java or C. If you wanted to do the smne thing, you would go about it using different tools.

              For evidence, two examples. One, Dr. Strangelove (etc. rest of title etc.) was based on a very serious book "Red Alert", and while the novel was good, the movie was excellent. The movie was better because Kubrick realized the sort of accidental and very black humor that was easily exploitable on film in a way that the book could not put across. As a point of reference, someone about the same time made a direct book-to-movie port of "Red Alert". It was decent, but nobody remembers it.

              Example the second, Fight Club, a very good novel by Chuck Palahniuk, was I think improved upon in the film. Many of David Finscher's directorial trademarks helped to disorient the viewer in a way that I think Palahniuk was trying to directly explain, all using nothing but mood and deft editing. A direct port book-to-movie would have been terrible, instead of better.

              Ultimately a story can be enriched by its introduction to celluloid (or, these days, virtual celluloid; Baudrillard is somewhere creaming his pants) so long as the director keeps in mind the advantages and disadvantages peculiar to the medium and also how those adv. and dis. compare to those of novel storytelling. The key is tha the director must at first be respectful of teh message(s) being conveyed by the original author and find ways to express them that are available in the new medium, especially to make up for those that are not. Mixed example: in Starship Troopers, (a movie I am heavily conflicted over), does a good job at least of building the federal society's parameters not through exposition, but rather through clever advert propaganda snippets. In a movie, the audience would have collectively suicided rather than listen to (rather than read) Heinlein's political musings.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:06PM (#16125116)
    Billy, this is your mother! I see you in that alley young man! You get that tongue of yours out of that girl's mouth right now or you're in big trouble! That is all.
  • by Mortirer (885969) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:06PM (#16125118)
    In soviet Russia, you don't tell the government what to do, it tells YOU! Oh....wait....crap
    • Joking aside.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17, 2006 @01:12PM (#16125382)
      Joking aside, many of us who were alive before and during WWII do see the parallels of today's Western society to that of Soviet Russia. I was 12 when World War II started in Europe. At that time we didn't know it as 'World War II', as the future magnitude of the conflict was yet unknown to us.

      Unlike most young students today, in Wales we were expected to keep up to date on world affairs as part of our studies. Every day we'd read from papers like the Daily Herald and The Manchester Guardian, and from The Economist weekly. We knew of the world around us, and we knew of what went on in the Soviet Union.

      Many years later, in the mid 1990s, I was lucky enough to get to work alongside people from nations like Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, and even Georgia. It was very interesting to hear them tell of their lives in the Soviet Union. In many respects, what they said mirrors the social situation we have today.

      They'd tell of fearmongering from the government and the media (which itself was government-run). This fearmongering was used to turn the people against other nations and peoples, and even against certain ideals.

      A result of this fearmongering was a sense in insecurity between individuals. Few people would trust one another to any extent. People knew they were being watched at all times, but they never knew by who.

      We seem to have much the same today. Many people in our society today share the same paranoia about others, hyped on by the efforts of the mass media. The media itself is guilty of extreme self-censorship, and won't challenge the government to any extent. It thus becomes what is essentially "government-run", even if the government isn't directing day-to-day operations and selecting what stories are printed.

      Today, as evident by this article, we are all being constantly watched by shadowy figures within various governments. The level of security is extensive, as is the cost. And what's worse, there is little to show but extreme inconvenience for law-abiding citizenry. Some are even shot dead, as we saw in London a year-and-a-half ago.

      Those of us who lived in the Soviet Union, and those of us who were even just alive during that time period, we all agree: Western society is beginning to severely duplicate the Soviet experience.

      • by kfg (145172) * on Sunday September 17, 2006 @02:17PM (#16125675)
        Joking aside, many of us who were alive before and during WWII do see the parallels of today's Western society to that of Soviet Russia.

        Scarier than that, on "the other side of the line" people were wandering around saying things like "it can't happen here, we're a democracy" -- but it did.

        Thank God it can't happen here, happen here, happen here. . .

        KFG

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Digital Vomit (891734)
          Thank God it can't happen here, happen here, happen here. . .

          I want to think of an intelligent reply, but I've got to concentrate...concentrate...concentrate...

          I've got to concentrate...concentrate...concentrate...

          Echo...echo...echo...

          Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon... Manny Mota... Mota... Mota...

  • nothing wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Coneasfast (690509)
    i can't see any disadvantage to this, they're only adding loudspeakers to already existing CCTV cameras. they're not breaching your privacy anymore than before
    • Re:nothing wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

      by blastum (772029) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:12PM (#16125146)
      My wife tells me that when the communists took over S. Vietnam, they put loudspeakers on every corner and woke people up bright and early with inspirational commie songs. It's becoming hard to tell the pigs from the men here.
    • Re:nothing wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thelost (808451) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:12PM (#16125149) Journal
      True, until they start playing The Government Channel 24 hours a day, announcing that:

      WAR IS PEACE
      FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
      IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
      • Re:nothing wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kaizendojo (956951) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @02:35PM (#16125746)
        They're already doing this in the US. It's called the "Bush Administration Platform"...
        • WAR IS PEACE = The 'War' on 'Terrorism'/"America is safer, but not yet safe"
        • FREEDOM IS SLAVERY = "In order to protect our democracy, some personal freedoms must be sacrificed" (otherwise known as the "Patriot" Act)
        • IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH = "I'm the 'Decider'..." or "Fool me once, shame on...shame on you...Fool me twice...Won't get fooled again..."
    • Re:nothing wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:19PM (#16125171)
      Personally, I think this will backfire. It's possible to simply learn to accept that law enforcement is watching and recording everything you do in public, as millions of Britons have apparently done. But when those cameras start vocally reminding you of their presence, they may be much more difficult to ignore. We'll see: this will be interesting to watch whatever happens.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by enharmonix (988983)
        We'll see: this will be interesting to watch whatever happens.

        Coming this fall to BBC 4.

      • I think it is pretty much in the cards that this will be in our future. As to the backlash, people are pretty quick to adapt to new things, even things such as being scolded by a CCTV camera. We'll see though.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ScrewMaster (602015)
          Well ... I hope there's some kind of a backlash. Cameras are certainly here in the U.S., with more appearing all the time. They don't talk yet, but where I live there are cameras popping up everywhere, and that's just the ones you can see. I watched an ambulance driving down a street the other day (remotely switching all the lights to green as it went) and at each intersection a white light above the camera went on for a second or two as the vehicle went through. I guess I should be thankful they had the co
    • Re:nothing wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:46PM (#16125263)
      i can't see any disadvantage to this, they're only adding loudspeakers to already existing CCTV cameras. they're not breaching your privacy anymore than before

      It all happened so slowly that most men failed to realize that anything had happened at all. [imdb.com]

    • by megaditto (982598)
      Adding loudspeakers is a very good idea. At least Blair shows he wants to be pro-active in defending the public, rather than just spy on them like they do over here.

      I for one wish they would add gatling turrets to every camera. And sound effects from Deus Ex /2.
    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      They're not breaching your privacy anymore than before

      It seems a bit like the recent kerfluffle about Facebook notifying "friends" about changes in your realtionships. The data was there for anyone nosy enough, but the subjects could ignore it. When you get immediate feedback you start paying attention.

  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:06PM (#16125122) Homepage Journal
    I live in the UK, and whilst I see lots of cameras, they certainly aren't on every street corner - however the closer to the city centre you go, the more there are.
    Is it based on sensor sales, does it include webcams, how about mobile phone cams?
    Its always bugged me how they come up with grand figures like they have.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by keot (667523)
      My hometown of 35,000 [wikipedia.org] recently got CCTV installed. I don't think that anywhere in the UK will be CCTV-free in a few years.

      I suppose once they've install the loudspeakers, taunting the cameras will be a much more entertaining exercise.
    • Most of the statistics I've seen include estimates of the number of private CCTV cameras. Since most retail businesses have at least two or three to watch for shoplifters, this adds up to a huge number. A lot more are traffic monitoring cameras on motorways (every few hundred yards; adds up very quickly), used to provide information to local radio about where traffic jams are to warn motorists to avoid them. These are all quite benign, but it lets the popular press quote large numbers and shout 'Orwell!'
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @01:30PM (#16125466)

      I live in the UK, and whilst I see lots of cameras, they certainly aren't on every street corner

      Actually, here in Cambridge (UK), they pretty much are on every street corner, at least anywhere near the middle of town. On top of that, they now have mobile units they can set up anywhere, which are used further out. Then there's all the cameras at things like ATMs, the ones in shops, the ones scanning your number plate when you park at Tesco, the numberplate-scanning equipment in police vehicles and in the new average speed cameras...

      And you know what? The few relatively dangerous places around the place -- not that Cambridge is a particularly dangerous city to live in -- are still dangerous. My girlfriend still can't walk across a park alone late at night, or go through the underpass to get across the road. When they want to prosecute people for violent crime, the pictures are so poor that they can't reliably identify anyone involved. It's been repeatedly demonstrated that they can't read number plates on vehicles, either. In fact, the only thing they seem to be good for is watching outside pubs late at night to pick up any serious fights slightly faster than someone would call them in.

      Personally, I think it's all gone way too far. I now shop at other supermarkets that don't spy on everyone entering or leaving their car park, I don't sign up for any new "loyalty" cards in shops, etc. I have even reached the point that I'm considering voting for a political party I never thought I'd support, on the basis that they have given a solid promise that they will repeal the ID card legislation Tony's cronies have forced through. Whatever else I think of that party, I will almost certainly vote for them next time just for that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cal Paterson (881180)
        And you know what? The few relatively dangerous places around the place -- not that Cambridge is a particularly dangerous city to live in -- are still dangerous.

        Thank god someone else realised this. Video camera are not a deterrent! They're only useful for solving crimes - they're totally useless at preventing them.

        Cameras aren't cops.
        • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Sunday September 17, 2006 @02:36PM (#16125748) Journal
          Thus the loudspeakers. I picture the scenario going something like this:

          "Hey you with the ski-mask on, we see you! Stop beating up on that poor old woman. Don't you take her handbag, I mean it. Stop it! Really, we're going to find you, Mr. possibly a 6'-4" possibly male most-likely caucasian. We have software that can recognize you by your walk. Hey, stop that! Stop walking all funny! Okay boys, it's got to be John Cleese, no one else that tall can walk that funny, go get him!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bertie (87778)
      I live in a small town in Surrey. It's one of the most affluent parts of the country, and consequently there's not a whole lot of crime. The most trouble I've ever seen was a guy getting his nose broken outside a pub. Three police cars turned up to deal with it, so you can tell how bored they are. Nothing ever happens, and I doubt it ever did.

      And yet there's a CCTV camera outside my bedroom window.

      If I lie in bed at night with my window open, I can hear the motor whirring away from time to time as it fo
  • by Hex4def6 (538820) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:07PM (#16125132)
    "Afterwards she said: 'It's quite scary to realise that your every move could be monitored - it really is like Big Brother. 'But Middlesbrough does have a big problem with anti-social behaviour, so it is very reassuring.' " And this is why it is truly Airstrip One.
    • The victims here are the citizens. They ran away out of fear of being observed and commanded, not from shame of their actions or fear of retribution. I would run too, no matter what i had done, and if there was no where to run, like any rat, I would fight

      It is total propaganda to attribute their fear as creating an almost religious moral awakening in them.

      By increasing peoples stress levels, isn't it more likely that the rate of serious violent incidents would escalate, rather than decrease? It cou
      • I agree, a voice over a loudspeaker doesn't make things more secure.

        It reminds me of the comedy routine where the guy goes:

        "In my house, you never talked back, so I was kind of freaked when I heard my friend tell his mother to go f*ck herself. I asked how he got away with it. He said "Simple, they threaten to punish me, I say I'm going to call youth services and report them. I get away with EVERYTHING I want."

        "So I went home, and when my father asked me to take out the garbage, I said "F*ck you pops, I'm busy watching TV!'

        And dad went ... "Russell ... one of us is going to get a big hurt in a minute, and its not me ..."

        "And I went 'Oh, yeah? You lay a hand on my and I'll call Youth Services."

        "Russell ... you can phone Youth Services, but remember , it takes them 20 minutes to get here, and one of us is going to get big hurt in the meantime, and its not me."

        Having police sitting in front of cameras and shouting over loudspeakers instead of being on the ground would have been a recipe for disaster at the recent Dawson College shooting. The death toll would have been much higher. We'd have had it all on hard disk, but that's cold consolation.

  • The Daily Mail! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by turgid (580780) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:09PM (#16125138) Journal

    The Daily Mail, voice of petty-minded, intolerant, closet racist Little England, is usually in favour of these sorts of things.

    >You reap what you sow, as it were.

    • Re:The Daily Mail! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bralkein (685733) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:37PM (#16125233)
      Yeah, I keep seeing Daily Mail stories getting posted here on /., and I definitely find it irritating, because of the reasons you just gave. It's not the impression I really want to be giving to foreigners about my country...

      Anyhow, adding loudspeakers to these cameras might be a good thing (bear with me, don't mod me down yet!). If the number of cameras stays the same, well we are just getting spied on the same as before, but with loudspeakers, now people will notice the spying is taking place. As it stands, cameras are easy to forget about in day-to-day life, but hearing the voice of authority booming down from on high is sure to raise some alarm. Hopefully we will finally see some kind of backlash! (Now you can mod me down)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by IWannaBeAnAC (653701)
        I agree, in the long run this might is a 'good' thing. All it takes is a few 40-something housewives to get told off for littering and suddenly the mayor will find himself not the mayor, after the next election. I reckon even people quoted in the article as supporting this, will chenge their mind after a petty telling off.

        On the other hand, IIRC some (or even most?) schools in the UK have had loud speakers like this for a few years now, so the next generation is already trained to subjugate themselves.

        • by Bralkein (685733) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @01:13PM (#16125385)
          I can't imagine very many schools here in the UK have such things as this in place (I am only twenty and I have a little sister in school, so I would probably have heard about it), but even if they should become commonplace, I have little faith that anything short of tear gas will bring those little bastards to heel! ;-)
      • by twitter (104583) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @03:48PM (#16126043) Homepage Journal

        As it stands, cameras are easy to forget about in day-to-day life, but hearing the voice of authority booming down from on high is sure to raise some alarm. Hopefully we will finally see some kind of backlash!

        No, it would be better if your government were taking cameras down, not spending money on making them more effective. Once you have lost and the loudspeakers are up, you need to find a way to prove they are invasive and abused. Having a voice "on high" might help you in creating an incident if you are creative enough, but it will probably work against you.

        The way forward is to expose the invasiveness and uselessness. Studies have already shown they don't fight crime. Print the results and tack them up at busy intersections. People live and die in front of government spies. You need to find ways of making very private events public. The victim has already lost their dignity and privacy, so you won't actually make it worse for them. Mostly, you need a whistle blower like the US has for wire taps. The extent to which the system is being used to monitor and harass political groups, students and other innocents should be published. You will have to infiltrate the system to see it, but it requires so many people that should be easy. Sooner or later, someone on the inside will turn against this monstrosity. Good luck.

    • Straight from Orwell [historyguide.org] Orwell's vision of repression and the even stronger image of Big Brother was clear in Orwell's mind as early as 1944. After all, the great purge trials of the 1930s were now part of history, a history Orwell knew quite well as a journalist. "Out in the street," he wrote, "the loudspeakers bellow, the flags flutter from the rooftops, the police with their tommy-guns prowl to and fro, the face of the Leader, four feet wide, glares from every point." Image all those huge paintings of Stal
  • 1984 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GC (19160) <giles@coochey.net> on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:10PM (#16125140)
    " You are the dead ", said an iron voice behind them. ...

    " Now they can see us ", said Julia.

    " Now we can see you ", said the voice. " Stand out in the middle of the room. Stand back to back. Clasp your hands behind your heads. Do not touch one another. " ...

    He heard Julia snap her teeth together. " I suppose we may as well say good-bye ", she said.

    " You may as well say good-bye ", said the voice. And then another quite different voice, a thin, cultivated voice which Winston had the impression of having heard before, struck in; " And by the way, while we are on the subject, Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head ! "
  • Good idea. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rational (1990)
    This is actually a pretty good idea. A camera with a loudspeaker is not actually more of an encroachment on your privacy (to the extent where there can be privacy in a *public* place) than one without, and it can mean the difference between the camera operators being able to prevent a crime, or just having to watch and grit their teeth waiting for the police to turn up.

    Honestly, I'm fairly bored with the "The UK is turning into 1984" recurrent Slashdot meme.
    • Bored (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CatWrangler (622292) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:23PM (#16125186) Journal
      Well, just because it may be boring to you, does not mean it doesn't exist. We are rushing headlong into an age of massive amounts of ability to violate privacy due to the ability to store the data, and the medium to create it. We are not having a true debate in society about how to balance safety and privacy. It's a pity it bores you, but for some of us, we can at least make an attempt to have some dialogue about the issue before we jump into the abyss.
    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      I tend to disagree. A loudspeaker is a big deal - it's a way for the government to talk to you, to force their views on you, to disturb you - without you even having a chance to talk back. I know in Britain people don't meekly accept whatever a policeman says - in this case however there is no way to respond, no way to say "this is none of your business, I don't care what looks suspicious to you I'm a free man".

      Also I would say that it's a violation of privacy to track your movements. If it was done by a

  • In January 2004 there were more than 4,285,000 CCTV cameras in the UK

    Every time I hear statistics along those lines I wonder why a population would allow such a thing. General apathy? The good (attempting to prevent crime) really outweighs the bad (loss of privacy, abuse of power by government)?

    Dan East
    • by ctid (449118)
      As soon as it became clear that the figure was large, people started hyping it. Think about all the security cameras in stores. Think about the security cameras which monitor car parks. Have you ever been in a building where the caretaker (supervisor) sits in front of a bank of video monitors, or a single video monitor which cycles through several views of the building? What about railway stations at night? Tot all of these up in any modern society and you're going to get an astronomical number. This number
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Timesprout (579035)
      The good (attempting to prevent crime) really outweighs the bad (loss of privacy, abuse of power by government)?


      How exactly can you lose your privacy by being filmed in a public place?

      Feel free to cite any abuse of power the government has perpetrated using cctv cameras.
    • by Gonoff (88518)

      I wonder why a population would allow such a thing. General apathy?

      I work in a hospital in the UK. We have dozens of cameras around us. We want more!

      This is not apathy, we know they are there. Walk down a public corridor and you are on camera. Sit in a waiting toom, you are seen. walk to your car and you will be recorded. This is good because...

      Hit someone and your picture is taken.
      Have a scream at the A&E reception desk and we can prosecute.
      Steal my backpack from my locker and we have y

    • by Aphrika (756248)
      It's not Big Brother as all these cameras are not linked to a central system. A company for instance, might have three or four monitoring its perimeter, while a cashpoint may have another one monitoring its use. Petrol stations may have a few outside for security - basically, they're scattered everywhere.

      Now, the areas that do have linked cameras tend to be city centres. I don't really have a problem with this as the amount of effort required to pick me out after a day out shopping (if I had or hadn't done
    • Simple. (Score:3, Funny)

      by /dev/trash (182850)
      It's eliminated all crime.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pjt33 (739471)
      I think there's a combination of factors at work. One is a widespread feeling of political impotence - which has a real basis, given that the Labour party got about a third of the national vote but has a substantial majority in the Commons, and that the Conservatives aren't so far from Labour. (This is probably changing, but change takes time and communicating it takes longer).

      Coupled with that is the English (British? I don't know how much it applies to the other home nations) attitude to complaining: we c

  • by CatWrangler (622292) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:19PM (#16125166) Journal
    They aren't even close to being as ubiquitous as they shall be in the not too distant future. They will be linked to your driver's photo, your credit cards, you name it. People will pay money to live in the country side behind gates, with guards, but no cameras. Only the poor and middle class will have to live under this great experiment in voyeurism. The criminals will find ways around detection. The rest of us will lose more and more of our privacy rights. Kids born today will be numb and accustomed to the lack of freedom, just as our overlords want.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by enjo13 (444114)
      I make fairly frequent trips to London to visit our office there. It's interesting, I talked about these cameras with the guys there (the office is smack in the middle of London) and they all love them. Criminals have circumvented the system by being where the cameras aren't. This has made the highly populated parts London MUCH safer... the privacy issues concern me and the whole thing creeps me out (a lot). However, the system DOES appear to be at least somewhat effective and for anyone living in a highly
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Reziac (43301) *
      "... to live under this great experiment in voyeurism."

      One has to wonder about the concurrent rise in "reality TV" with its implication that it's such great fun to live under a microscope... ...at least, for the dude in the white laboratory smock.

  • by tod_miller (792541) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:21PM (#16125178) Journal
    "Come on now, that enough of that you two, get a room! And young lady, cover up a bit!"

    I retrained myself from imagining what a seedy operator might say but 'go on, give her one for us lot, we are watching'

    or, the fun, shouting out 'give me your wallet', or 'I am watching you, yes... muahaha... you'. Or basic wolf whistling and 'nice tits love'.

    Bastards. Luckily I got all the deviant behaviour out of my system before I started dosing.

    Not without incident.

    *slash* applies for a job as a camera operator
  • Maybe the Brits are going for a live action sequel. Have no fear.
  • Next, they get guns (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:23PM (#16125184) Homepage

    The next step is an automated Counter Fire System [darpa.mil]. Fire a gun, and within seconds, you're taking heavy fire.

    The U.S. Army has had that for almost two decades with the Fire Finder radar system, but that's for heavy artillery. Now DARPA is downsizing the technology to the counter-sniper level.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FleaPlus (6935) *
      This reminds me of Charles Stross's Lovecraftian/Dilbertian spy thriller Concrete Jungle, which is licensed under a Creative Commons license and can be read as a free download [goldengryphon.com]. (Slight spoiler follows) In the novella, part of the plotline involves taking the turn-to-stone ability that medusas have, attributing it to some quantum-mechanical observance trickery, and encoding the relevant neural circuitry into an FPGA chip built into the cameras. The basic idea is that the whole reason the whole reason the UK
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Phat_Tony (661117)
      The DARPA article you linked to says

      "Imagine a geostationary satellite parked 21 kilometers above the targeted area."

      DARPA expects the reader to have a very active imagination, since geostationary orbit is at 35,786 km [wikipedia.org] above sea level. Due to the atmosphere, objects below 200 KM do not so much "orbit" as "crash." I hope they didn't really do the math on this system based on satellites orbiting at 21 km.

      Later they talk about an airship, which makes sense, but they also continue to use the word "satel
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vidarh (309115)
      Except that guncrime is so rare here (as in you can count most fatalities due to guncrime in double digits most years) that it would be a pointless exercise.
  • by Tim C (15259) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:24PM (#16125190)
    So I guess at least it's in keeping with the source of the article...

    If you RTFA, you'll find that 7 (or 148) cameras in one town (Middlesbrough) are having loud speakers fitted as part of an experiment. While the headline isn't entirely inaccurate, it's definitely misleading as it implies that this is a general thing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by NinjaFarmer (833539)
      As part of an "experiment", which will be "successful". Sure... right.... What's next?
  • Man, a lot of people come down on the USA, however I don't think anything in the USA approaches big-brother-ness like what is going on in the UK.

    Why aren't the people of the UK fighting back? To me this crosses the line for what a a government should be allowed to do. Where is the line drawn on what is "anti-social"? Who gets to draw the "anti-social" line? Is kissing your loved one in public "anti-social"? If not now, what is stopping the government from continually adding more and more things to w
    • by malsdavis (542216) * on Sunday September 17, 2006 @01:24PM (#16125432)
      There is a fundamental difference between the US and the UK in how the public preceive "big-brotherness" and the role of the government in general. In the UK there just arn't nearly as many populised "government conspiracy theories" like they are in the USA and very few people fear the government/secret service malicously "spies" on people.

      Besides this, the vast majority of CCTV cameras in the UK are owned by either local government/councils (which operate and are widely recognised as being very independant of central/national government) or by private landowners and businesses. Very few of the millions of CCTV cameras which are being, and have been, installed over the last few years in the UK have been requested by any organisation connected to central government.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... Demolition Man

    <cash machine swallows my cash>

    Me: Fucking piece of shit!
    CCTV: Eurgh! You have been fined one credit for a violation of the verbal morality code.
    Me: What the f-
    CCTV: Eurgh! You have been fined one credit for a violation of the verbal morality code.
    Me: Goddamnit!
    CCTV: Eurgh! You have been fined one credit for a violation of the verbal morality code.
  • by Lave (958216) * on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:42PM (#16125246)
    A street I walk down in london may have been testing some form of this. There was a white wall that to my knowledge had never been "tagged" but every time anyone would walk past it would "flash" a camera at you and tell you to "STEP AWAY FROM THE WALL - GRAFITI IS NOT TOLERATED AND YOUR IMAGE WILL BE USED TO CONVICT YOU."

    As the street was next to a very popular Chinese Restaurant the number of people setting it off was huge - just for using a public footpath! People complained enough for it to be removed (I guess) but it showed me how hard it is to argue against CCTV.

    FTFA: Mr Bonner said:

    'It would appear that the offenders are the only ones who find the audio cameras intrusive. The vast majority of people welcome these cameras.

    'Put it this way, we never have requests to remove them.'

    They present these things as though if you complain your clearly one of them.

    The UK can not stand for this anymore - we need to find a voice, and a way to complain, that does not make us look like criminals.

    P.S. I think it's a salient point that the example used in the article is a man being shouted at to not ride his bicycle - not a mugging, not a rape, not a murder - a bicycle.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jimicus (737525)
      Two true stories for you:

      1. I wrote to my MP regarding ID cards. The logic being presented at the time was that they would make life harder for criminals because the criminal's ID card would get them. My point was that criminals, by definition, aren't too bothered about the law - so they'll beg, borrow or steal a fake ID quite happily.

      Broadly speaking, the response was "We know criminals don't obey the law. We're trying to find a solution to that one, anyone with any ideas is invited to write to us..."

      2
  • has just been created.

    I wonder what shall be broadcast first.
  • by hahiss (696716) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:44PM (#16125256) Homepage

    "Stop, or I'll yell stop again!"
  • This has got to be a gimmick, with the way anti social behaviour is in the UK at the minute, the only thing a speaking CCTV camera will get is more attention from those who are comitting acts within it's range. So not only would berating those committing the crimes bring more attention to the camera itself (eventually leading to it being vandalised), it would also just act as a way for some of these yobs to think they are being the big men and getting recognition for their action. I wouldn't be suprised if
  • Will they also be equiped with microphones so that the operator can hear the abuse that comes back. Or will we have to make do with gestures?
  • by Inda (580031)
    Number of residents in my town: 120,000
    Number of shops in my area: 20
    Number of houses in my area: 4,000
    Number of new graffiti tags sprayed last night in my area: 3
    Number of shop windows smashed over the weekend in my area: 2
    Number of rubbish bags stolen from the front of my house in the last month: 6
    Number of dog-shits on my drive in the past month: 5

    Number of CCTV cameras pointed at public places in my area: 0

    Yeah, the UK is just covered with CCTV cameras. I can't step outside my front door without being c
  • Stop Thief! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dave Fiddes (832)

    I build networked CCTV equipment as my day job. According the people who install our stuff the best way to get a potential thief or vandal to stop what they are doing is to say "Stop immediately and stay where you are the police have been notified". They usually turn and flee straight away...which is really the best option (at least for private property) where preventing too much damage is usually more important than apprehending the culprit. Sad but true.

    I understand why people are wary of CCTV but there

  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:58PM (#16125326) Homepage Journal
    The constant privacy concerns on slashdot ( which, btw, I tend to agree with ) are, in this case, focused on the wrong end. The important issue is not the number of public cameras ( as at least one poster has noted, they are in a public area where you could have no expectation of privacy anyway ), but who has access to the other end.

    A public webcam, which anybody can look at on the net, is very different from a public cam which only the cops get to look at. The people who control the data get to control the facts.
    Rather than bemoaning the number of cameras and now their accompaning audio, you should be complaining about the fact that you don't have access to them.

    Public crime is like bugs: if there are enough eyeballs, the problem will be fixed.
  • Data Protection Act (Score:4, Informative)

    by LeRandy (937290) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @12:58PM (#16125328)

    In the UK, if a CCTV system comprises of more than fixed cameras with a general overview (as found in small shops etc...), it is covered by the Data Protection Act.

    If a camera-system can Pan & Zoom or is concentrated on a specific person's activities then

    • They have a right to know - Signs must be erected saying who records the images and why
    • They have a right to view suitably anonymised images (ie. passers by removed)
    • They have a right to contest the results of any automated processing, eg. biometric scanning,
    • Images cannot be shared without a confidentiality agreement signed by the recipient (ie. promising to keep person-identifying images private and secure)
    • Images must be erased after a reasonable period unless they are needed for a court case. Recording over the tape is not sufficient - they must be permanently erased. In the case of city centre CCTV, 1 month is considered the reasonable maximum, since any offences should have been notified by then. For banks, 3 months, because that is the maximum period between account statements being received by customers.
    • A detailed policy must be written and known by operators, listing exactly how, why and when images are recorded, used, and erased. Subjects of the CCTV images must be able to view this policy upon request.
    • If images recorded are used to cause undue harm or distress to the subject (law-enforcement uses of a video are not considered undue harm...), they must be erased immediately, along with all copies and any subsequent data purtaining to these images
    • The Data Controller at the company recording the images must be registered with the Information Commissioner's office in London.

    In addition, even if only fixed cameras are used, the above provisions apply if the images are not being used for law-enforcement alone.
    The Information Commissioner can order that any non-compliance be rectified, and since not complying with an enforcement notices is a criminal offence, the Information Commissioner can take the company to court - the fine is unlimited. If harm or distress was caused, they can also order compensation be paid.

    If a camera overlooks property not normally visible from the street (back gardens, house interiors, or anywhere you could reasonably expect privacy), the camera owner MUST receive permission to film from the current residents - including tenants, or must ensure the system cannot film these areas. This includes Landlords filming tenants inside the house...

    Just to put people in the know - the Data Protection legislation does cover CCTV, and reasonable expectation of privacy is included in the provisions.

  • by SpecialAgentXXX (623692) on Sunday September 17, 2006 @02:11PM (#16125644)
    That was my attitude when I was fresh out of college prior to 9/11. I've had 21 years of "land of the free & home of the brave" rah rah rah. I would read what was happening in the UK and thought that our Constutition and especially the Bill of Rights would prevent all of that from happening. Little did I know that there was already an increase in the seizing of our freedoms - 2nd Amendment via "gun control", 4th Amendment via "war on drugs", etc. And all it took was 9/11 to throw the majority of Americans into a fear-stricken "we must give up our liberties for security" attitude. And our politicians were more than willing to pander to it. The money from Homeland Security for the major cities has gone for more CCTVs to monitor the public. Police rave about how they can put more "virtual" cops on the beat to "fight crime." Citizens say they have nothing to hide because they aren't doing anything wrong and are glad they are now "safe" by being monitored 24/7.

    I have since come to accept that whatever Big Brother mess we see start in the UK will eventually make its way into the US. "Land of the free, home of the brave"???
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17, 2006 @06:31PM (#16126844)
    I live about 15 minutes away from Middlesbrough and work there. Let me describe the area I live in to give you an idea of how bad it's getting and by all accounts Middlesbrough is worse.

    The immediate area is surrounded by heavy industrial works, they stretch out to the horizon. On one side is what used to be British Steel, the other ICI(C&P whatever). Cooling towers and flame stacks dot the scenery. Sulphur and worse smells drift past regularly, air raid sirens sound occasionally when the plants test the you're all gonna die alarm (or occasionally they sound for real). Keeping the outside of your house clean is a battle easier surrendered than fought. The vents around my windows have a black smudge running off them (on the inside) if I don't wipe them off once or twice a week. At night it's not uncommon to be able to read in my garden by the light of the columns of flame from ICI flare stacks, not that I'd want to be caught reading you understand, people might get the wrong idea.

    You know the nice pans across the city in Bladerunner? That's what my backyard looks like at night. Ridley Scott is a local lad.

    There have been, er, "travellers" camped nearby. From the smell of it they cook over burning tires.

    I no longer regard the people that live nearby as human, it's easier to think of them as some sort of ape-men. They could be human if they tried but can't be arsed. Their children/babboon creatures run free in the streets, light fires not 100m from their own homes, attack people unafraid of being punished. When I say children I mean as young as 5.

    Public transport is sort of safe to use, unless you drive it. Recently I saw a driver get hit in the face with spit from a kid, maybe 12yrs old, he did this on his way off the bus. Rocks and other missiles get hurled at the windows. God forbid you have to get on a bus at school letting out time.

    Unlicensed vehicles, usually trail bikes or quads are driven on public footpaths. Groups of children will walk in the middle of roads slowing traffic and harrasing drivers. They'll lurk around local shops, not practising their urban fucking folkways and having break dancing/rap competitions as you might expect but getting pissed on cheap booze and menacing/attacking actual humans. Or, in a interesting recent development, getting high on heroin(or speedballs as the local radio informed me recently. Heroin+crack=JOY!).

    On the grangetown estate cameras were installed to keep down local crime and anti social behaviour. They stole the cameras.

    You can enjoy the nightlife, if running the risk of getting stabbed is your thing. I find it adds spice to the night.

    You may have heard the expression, it's grim up north, they weren't fucking kidding. We think this state of affairs is normal.

    These subhumans are not disadvantaged, your address does not dictate the schooling you will receive, the welfare state takes reasonable care of it's citizens in the UK (A 2 parent family with one child will pull in excess of £200pw in benefits), segregation of the haves and have nots is just not practical here. We have 1/5th your population in an area less than half the size of Texas.

    Bring on the cameras, lay on more speed cameras too. Try children as adults and bring back the fucking birch. Blame the parents, the government and the schools. The whole rotten mess is getting worse day by day.

    Excuse the incoherent rambling above, it's late and I'm depressed.

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