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London Police Equipped With 360-Degree Cams 244

Posted by kdawson
from the you-couldn't-make-it-up dept.
OriginalArlen writes, "In a story so surreal I had to check the primary source, the Register reports that the (London, UK) Metropolitan Police are trying out the use of eight tiny cams, mounted in the police helmet, to provide 360-degree evidence gathering in the event that an officer witnesses a crime. The press release also gives more evidence of the stealth spread of ubiquitous ANPR systems across the country as a spin-off 'benefit' to the London car congestion-charging scheme, which is likely to be rolled out across the country in the next few years. Are we already living in a Panopticon Society?" According to this report from the information commissioner for Great Britain, yep.
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London Police Equipped With 360-Degree Cams

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  • by Jawood (1024129) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:16PM (#16939354) Journal
    "The cameras will act as an excellent deterrent for any youngsters who are intent on causing trouble.

    I can't find anywhere that mentions if the cops have the ability to turn it off or not. I would be very skeptical of any police video that has been "edited" (turning the camera off at certain moments) by the police officer in question.

    An example of what I mean: A cop gets called "pig" (the UK version), cop turns off video, kicks the crap out of kid, turns video back on, and then says "I was attacked! You saw him trying to provoke me!" Or whatever, you guys get the idea.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:19PM (#16939406)
      I agree that turning the camera off would look pretty odd, depending on what had happened when the camer was back on...

      But really I can't see this as anything but a good thing. A police officer may well be able to keep a little calmer in tense situations knowing everything he does is recorded. If someone is really causing trouble, it helps clear the officer from wrongdoing as well. It's just an extension of cameras they put in every police car for traffic stops...

      • by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:36PM (#16939750)
        The answer to ubiquitous government cameras is ubiquitous civilian cameras.
        Compare vids and keep everyone on the straight and narrow.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Moofie (22272)
          Yeah. Tell that to Josh Wolf. [unmediated.org]
          • by couchslug (175151)
            As the user of a single camera, he is the target of harassment. It is much harder to harass a dispersed group.

            If the G8 protesters had MANY cameras and covered everything, then broadcasting the results, their innocence would be proven.
            A "PanoptiMob", if you will. The purpose of a protest is to stand out and speak out. Footage would further that.
      • The police turning off their cameras is a problem ( I recall seeing picture from 60s Selma voting marches where cops covered their badge numbers with black take before beating up marchers )
        But what if I am wearing a similar camera array?
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @05:00PM (#16940220)
          This is apparently a very common tactic. If you ever see a group of police with their badges covered chances are there is going to be some trouble. I learned this first hand at the Seattle '99 WTO protest. I was up in front of a big crowd and there was a line of cops done up in full riot gear with their names and badge numbers covered up, most were holding clubs but a few had AR-15s - it was very weird and intimidating because the crowd was mostly just sitting around and singing stupid songs about democracy and freedom like a bunch of hippies. It was about as non-threatening as you could get, many people commented on how the names and badges were covered and how the cops were just standing there staring and a lot of people felt scared. Other people tried to engage the cops in conversation (all of it friendly, I didn't hear a single insult towards the police). There had been reports of a small group of masked people smashing some windows earlier, but no violence of any sort at this point. After I was there for about a half hour or so someone in charge showed up in a car and talked to the guy who I assume was in charge of the riot cops. About 10 minutes after that the riot cops began "crowd dispersal" by attacking us with pepper spray, clubs, and rubber bullets. It was one of the most terrifying moments of my life, there was no real warning of any sort. One of them said something into a bullhorn (I assume an attack order, I couldn't understand it) and then out came the pepper spray and rubber bullet guns and then the clubs started swinging and everyone ran in terror. As they chased us down the street I saw an old woman get clubbed in the back and fall face down on the sidewalk, they kicked the woman who tried to help her back and then shot both of them with rubber bullets as they laid on the sidewalk together screaming. I've never felt the same about the police or America since.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by arivanov (12034)

            Well...

            I suggest that you will have to learn from American Government approach to peacefull protest.

            The standard scenario goes like this: US embassy sponsors the local Baseball League (at least several teams). It does it quietly for 2-3 years after which it gets a bunch of "democrats" (quotes on purpose) to demonstrate in front of the elected parlament on some issue. This is always done during the winter and it is done so for a reason.

            Simply, the baseball teams are brought in to demonstrate as well. T

        • I don't see why you couldn't wear one too, and then you'd be able to show your (assumedly) unexpurgated version alongside theirs, and thus prove not only did they do something wrong, but that they attempted to cover it up.

          More realistically though, unless you want to be like the gargoyle guy from Snow Crash, totally covered in data-capture gear, what's going to keep law enforcement and government in check are the little cameras on everyone's cellphones. The tasering incident at UCLA is just the beginning; in the next few years as video-cameraphones become more ubiquitous, and ways for sharing the resulting video (Youtube, Flickr, etc.) become totally mainstream, you'll be able to pull out your cameraphone when you see something odd going on, and post it to the web (hopefully with some sort of geotagging and time/date stamping), and suddenly the onus will be on the cops to show exactly what they were doing.

          Cameraphones and YouTube are more than just ways to make porn and stupid pet videos, they could be the beginning of a whole new era in the balance of power between common people and the authorities. How the people in power attempt to regulate the use of these technologies should give you a good indication of how threatened they feel by them.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by b0s0z0ku (752509)
            in the next few years as video-cameraphones become more ubiquitous, and ways for sharing the resulting video

            The "ways of sharing" is more important. You need to be able to stream the video to a server where it is kept for at least 2 weeks before any deletion is even possible. That way, even if you're arrested, the phone is smashed, and they find out your password, they won't be *able* to delete the video without your consent.

            -b.

      • by zxnos (813588)
        ...and we never see video a cop beating someone in the face for no reason from a police cruiser or headquarters surveillance video.
    • In all likelihood, the U.S. is also creeping towards a 'Surveillance Society'. Response to terrorism (from the IRA) was one of drivers of the UKs current propensity towards spying on its citizens, fear of Al Queda and Islamic Militants will be our undoing as well. In times of unease and mass fear it's often easy to give up freedoms, but ever so difficult to bring them back. Hopefully Americans will recognize this before we merrily join the UK and strap video cameras to every public park, building, and employee.
      • by mustafap (452510) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:45PM (#16939920) Homepage
        >Response to terrorism (from the IRA) was one of drivers of the UKs current propensity towards spying on its citizens

        No, it isn't. We have far greater problems in our country with our drunken citizens on a saturday night than with terrorism.
        • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @05:04PM (#16940312)

          And we have far greater problems still with our current government's obsession with the perceived terrorist threat. Last week there was a big thing made of the head of one of our security services, stating that they had x groups and y individual terrorist suspects under surveillance, and knew of at least z active plans to hurt us. A lot of our media was hyping how terrible things really are, and now we really know how bad the real terrorist threat really is.

          Me, I thought "Is that all?" and figured we'd do better if we spent the gazillions of pounds we throw at "anti-terror" activities on cutting KSI figures for road traffic accidents, researching promising medical treatments, and raising education standards. This is not to belittle those who belong to the security services. Indeed, I've no doubt that they do some valuable work and protect us from some genuine threats, and I'm grateful to them for it. But sometimes, the price of a little extra security (you can never have 100%, nor anywhere close) is just too high. Tony Blair has talked a lot during his time in office about taking tough decisions. The tough decision on terrorism is not to take all those headline-grabbing steps that ultimately reduce overall quality of life, in a futile attempt to make the country Safe And Secure(TM).

          This camera thing is just another gimmick. It used to be that children would naturally respect a police officer and the local constable would stop and say hello to them in the park while walking his beat, yet today the police feel the need to cover their backsides with all kinds of video footage. Why have the police lost the implicit moral authority they used to have? Why is antisocial behaviour one of the biggest dirty marks on today's society? What happened to policing by consent? It is left as an exercise for the reader to decide whether the answers involve the threat of terrorism, or whether they're more to do with the government stripping parents and teachers of any legal right to effectively discipline children, misunderstanding human rights to mean treating convicted criminals like the second coming, adopting the nanny state view of legislation over education, enacting an extensive series of laws that are more about ease of enforcement than outlawing genuinely harmful behaviour, and eschewing all sense of personal responsibility from senior ministers on down in favour of a litigous, CYA, spin-laden society.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by L4m3rthanyou (1015323)
            spin-laden
            The real terrorist! :o
          • by mutube (981006) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @06:13PM (#16941502) Homepage
            It used to be that children would naturally respect a police officer and the local constable would stop and say hello to them in the park while walking his beat, yet today the police feel the need to cover their backsides with all kinds of video footage. Why have the police lost the implicit moral authority they used to have? Why is antisocial behaviour one of the biggest dirty marks on today's society? What happened to policing by consent?

            Anonymity. In the good old days (mostly imaginary) people knew who everyone else was. People had met the police officers before as they cycled past doing whatever it was they did back then. They knew you because they knew your mum and saw you growing up. They knew the local trouble makers, as did everyone else. Collectively troublemakers were kept in place because nobody tolerated it.

            Now nobody trusts their police & knows little of them other than what they see in the media (which is largely non-flattering). Why should people trust someone they don't know to be "doing the right thing"(tm)? This doesn't just apply to police officers. Nobody knows whether that guy kicking off on the bus is just a local idiot, or likely to stab them in the face. Even though the "good" people outnumber the crazy 50:1, individually we don't know that. We don't want to be the one to move first & find ourselves without backup.

            An example: I was walking through the city centre a while back & there was a large crowd of people. In the middle a police officer was attempted to arrest a woman & handcuff her. She was screaming and kicking at him to get away. Did anyone help? No. They stood and watched.

            Another recent post [slashdot.org] has shown that when faced with the opposite situation, the exact same thing happened. Nobody moved. This is not about respect for police or lack of it, it is about people not being able to decide on the correct action. It's about lack of information to make an informed choice.

            Yes, it would be great if the police were implicitly trusted, but nobody works like that. We trust what we know.

            Incidentally, I helped the policeman with the arrest. He seemed calmer.
          • by mikael (484)
            Why have the police lost the implicit moral authority they used to have?

            Because they have been centralised. Before, the police officer used to live on the same neighbourhood as everyone else, and was a community figure (in the church, sports club, mens club, whatever...). This is what the residents in troublespot areas want to go back to - to have a local police station open 24 hours/day, or even just have the officers live locally. Now, the officers only drive in pairs in squad cars, and are only called o
          • The knee-jerk answer is globalisation of values from watching too much American TV.

            The other answer is that it is a matter of times changing in generations. The '60s kids might have had demonstrations etc, but at least their parents were giving them the "Be polite when you talk to a policeman". If you talked back to mum or a teacher then, you'd have copped a thrashing. Now, two generations on and these forces have been eroded.

            When the young bull of the herd clashes with the old bull, he's not necessarily t

        • by owlnation (858981)
          Yes, that's true. If memory serves, Coatbridge was one of the first places in the UK to have cameras installed, many because most nights of the week there was so much drunken violence.
      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        No it won't. American cops' hats aren't large enough to conceal an a array of either cameras.

        -b.

      • by ifoxtrot (529292)
        > Response to terrorism (from the IRA) was one of drivers of the UKs current propensity towards spying on its citizens

        While I'm sure the IRA played a part in getting cameras in the UK, I strongly believe the biggest factor was the Jamie Bulger case where those two teenagers were caught on camera leading that little boy away from his mother. After that, anyone who raised a voice to oppose cameras was obviously opposing child protection...
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by PurpleRain (733605)
        I don't think having cameras in public places is really giving up any freedoms. If they had cameras in my home or workplace, I would be a little more concerned, but it's public! Anyone could be sitting on a park bench watching you just like the camera is watching you. What's the big deal?
      • Hopefully Americans will recognize this before we merrily join the UK and strap video cameras to every public park, building, and employee.

        Oh, we'd never go that far. We'll just put up cameras for traffic enforcement. And law enforcement. And then link them up [slashdot.org]. And upgrade the software [foxnews.com] to do face/gait recognition and look for "suspicious behavior." And require private cameras at bars, and link those to the police [jsonline.com]. Then for good measure have the cameras bark orders [dailymail.co.uk] at people. By then we'll have found othe
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      And then the cop sees a girl in a bikini and chases her around for a while at high speed to some uptempo yakety sax.

    • by ElephanTS (624421)
      This is why burnt-in timecode like SMPTE on the video is essential to prevent this. If a policeman knows how to fake this he should be in another job.
  • Now we can see something other than car chases on "World's Wildest Police Videos."
  • Robocop (Score:5, Funny)

    by frederec (911880) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:20PM (#16939422)
    Maybe I'm the only one, but when I saw the headline, I thought of the line in Robocop: "You idiot! His memory is admissible as evidence!"
  • by lagfest (959022) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:20PM (#16939424)
    With this, the police can't beat you up for no reason and get away with it.
    • by trewornan (608722)
      I really don't have a problem with this in principle after all if you're stupid enough to break the law next to a policeman you really deserve what you get, and if he sees you it won't make much difference if he's got a video of it (judges and juries tend to believe police witnesses). On the other hand - if a policeman is wearing a camera he's going to be a lot more careful about exceeding his authority.

      My main concern is why they need a 360 degree surveillance system, at a couple of grand a go, when they c
      • by jimicus (737525)
        My main concern is why they need a 360 degree surveillance system, at a couple of grand a go, when they could get standard headmounted cameras (like nightclub bouncers have been using for years) at a fraction of that price.

        Because the current UK government (which has been in power for 9 years now) believes that technology is the cure to all of society's ills.

        Too many illegal immigrants? Roll out an ID card system.
        Health service ineffective and strapped for cash? Roll out a massive computer system covering
  • This actually doesn't seem like a terrible idea, I mean, a lot of police cars have cameras mounted to the front of them and this is just the logical extension of that. Also, unlike a lot of technologies used in policing, it might help protect citizens from overzealous cops. If a cop's got one of these on and he does something out of line, you can just look at the tape, whereas otherwise it might just be your word against his. This of course, is assuming the tapes are available to you as evidence.

    Honestly I
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Have you ever honestly tried to watch one of those police tapes? I wanted to view one because of a incident
      that had happened me but after the stalling by police the tape 'vanished'. The system protects itself.
      Its only logical......not necessarily right but its logic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Savage-Rabbit (308260)
      Honestly I find the prevalence of cameras mounted to buildings for policing (such as those found across London) to be more disturbing. It seems more okay when you're using cameras to document the course of a police officer's work.


      Don't you think that in the end all those trips to the donut shop would get boring? The endless conversations about hemorrhoids would definetly be disturbing....
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:52PM (#16940062)
      If a cop's got one of these on and he does something out of line, you can just look at the tape, whereas otherwise it might just be your word against his.

      The key to a "Panoptic" society is that you can be watched at any time, but not always all the time, and you don't know at any given moment whether you're being watched or not. Thus you turn everyone into paranoid little crazies, easily controlled and turned against one another.

      As for just looking at the tape, consider the Brazilian guy [bbc.co.uk] the British police shot a while back. Police say he was running and leaping turnstiles, witnesses say he wasn't running and he even stopped to pay his fare. But hey, there's closed-circuit cameras everywhere. Let's go to the tapes.... oh wait, looks like all the cameras were turned off that day! Wow! what a coincidence! (the "non-existent" tapes later turned up [guardian.co.uk])
      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        the solution to that problem is making conspiracy to hide or destroy the tapes an automatic life sentence. also have well protected logs kept to record actual mantenance issues.
    • First off, I agree that this doesn't sound bad to me, either. However, using the argument that this is a "logical extension" of something else as a supporting argument is the logical dual to the "slippery slope" argument. In neither case do I find it any way a complete argument. I would say I don't even find it a supporting statement, but the latter argument is at least that if only for the reason that the former argument is often made.
  • by johnw (3725) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:24PM (#16939494)
    So now a London bobby's greeting will be, "Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rik Sweeney (471717)
      So now a London bobby's greeting will be, "Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello"?

      No, because a standard greeting is "Ello, ello ello" so times eight it would be

      "Ello, ello ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello, ello?"

      By which time you've finished mugging the kid and done a runner.
    • You forgot the
      'What's all this then?', 'What's all this then?', 'What's all this then?' ...
  • Not 360 (Score:5, Informative)

    by HFShadow (530449) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:24PM (#16939500)
    The camera's are NOT 360 degree.

    Article with picture [daelnet.co.uk]
    • Re:Not 360 (Score:5, Informative)

      by frdmfghtr (603968) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:42PM (#16939868)
      From the original article at http://www.kablenet.com/kd.nsf/Frontpage/341C20ABD 4A1A1878025722C004DD886?OpenDocument [kablenet.com]:

      Officers in the 19 safer neighbourhood teams in the Haringey area have been issued with eight cameras, each the size of an AA battery, that record video images to a special utility belt. They are activated by a switch on the belt.


      The submitter probably assumed that all eight cameras were on one helmet, covering 360 degrees. It's like that party game where you tell a "secret" and wait to see how badly it gets mangled by the time it reaches the original source.

      Nowhere in the original story or in the Register posting does it say anything about 360 degree coverage. Sure, it's 360 degrees--if the bobby wearing it does a little twirl.

      Submitter doesn't read the submission, editors don't read the submission...just another day on /.

    • "It is a positive step forward towards reducing crime and anti-social behaviour."
      Yeah, anti-social behavior is really what the police need to stop. Sounds like Bill OReilly [slashdot.org] is running the UK police.
  • by localoptimum (993261) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:26PM (#16939530)
    This won't really change a thing in favour of the citizens. It will be used to cover their backs when the police doing things right (which is most of the time), raise a bit of revenue when they sell it off for a britains-dumbest-criminals-type tv show, but don't forget the poor brazilian guy who was executed on the tube last year. The police "lost" the videos for that one, and the tube system is already wall-to-wall with cameras for our "security".
    • by ElephanTS (624421)
      Exactly. Whenever something 'odd' goes down it always turns out there was a 'technical problem' on the CCTV system. Like the No.30 bus (Tavistock Square) or the cameras in the tunnel where Princess Di died.
  • Sigh (Score:2, Interesting)

    When I was a child I always thought how nice it would be to visit England.

    Now it just... I'm just really dissapointed is all.

    Where did I get such a silly notion that public surveillance is 100% wrong, regardless of benefit?
    • by @madeus (24818)
      As a UK citizen, as much as I really like Americans (who by and large are individually great people, some of the nicest anywhere) I actually feel the same way about the US, given how things are in the states now. That is based on my own experiences over the years of American officialdom and what I see in the media (students, even children being tazer'd, seemingly regularly reported incidences of police brutality, farcical conditions at airports, overbearing traffic laws).

      Personally, given the street crime r
  • So the police are carrying video cameras plugged into XBox 360s with very long extension cords. That should make next week's episode of COPS very interesting.
  • We need highly portable petabyte flash rom to make pentopticon a reality for everybody. While I have no doubt that (at least at the resolution my PDA displays) you can get 8 low res video feeds, with audio, at a cost of only 100MB/HR, and thus a 4GB compact flash could handle recording everything a police constable does for a half a shift (change the card at lunch, with a couple of spare card sto slap in after a crime occurs so that the original card could be "sealed" for chain of evidence purposes), this technology won't be widespread until you can go a month or more without changing the data storage card out.
    • Each cop only has one camera, not 8. 8 is the number of cops in the trial of the technology. They'd easily get a shift and more onto the device, and then presumably the device gets docked back at the station for charging and uploading of the video.
      • How do they get the 360 degrees out of a single camera? Or is that just hopeful on the part of the article summarizer?

        You're completely right though- the English in the article can be read two ways. Either each patrolman gets 8 cameras in their helmet (no great feat when your cameras are the size of a AA battery) connected to the beltpack, or we have 8 separate officers each with a single camera. But "Pack" seems to indicate the former rather than the later, but I also note that one of the articles says
  • As a side note.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by KeepQuiet (992584) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:31PM (#16939656)
    From BBC [bbc.co.uk]: "The average citizen in the UK is caught on CCTV cameras 300 times a day."
  • ingsoc, that is where British are heading.
  • by drDugan (219551) * on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:31PM (#16939674) Homepage
    all communication is essentially libralizing - so from my point of view, more commnication is always a good thing

    surveillence is one kind of communication. the problems that happen is when the information gathered by surveillence is not shared or accessible broadly

    in an ideal world, there would be lots and lots of surveillence, including all the interactions and discussions by the public, elected officials, and all the feeds could be viewed by the public

    • by couchslug (175151)
      Precisely. Note the videos of police brutality being caught on cell phone cams.
      Perhaps the best way to the future is not to protect privacy/anonymity, but to destroy all of it, and adapt to the new, level playing field.
  • Anything that brings about more police accountability is a good thing, in my mind. I just hope the UK legal system is less likely to dismiss cases due to technicalities than the US system. I can see the results now:

    "It is clear from this video that the police officer said 'You're under arrest,' instead of 'You are under arrest' as required by law. Because of this violation of procedure, none of the evidence collected is admissible and the state has no choice but to acquit."
  • by g253 (855070) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:39PM (#16939822) Homepage
    ... is not so much the police doing this as the people letting them.
  • to prevent their helmets from being "pinched" on Boat Race Day.
  • I still don't understand why they don't just use a single higher res camera, mount it facing upwards, then stick a curved lens above it to give a 360 view all round.
  • by mspohr (589790) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:48PM (#16939990)
    I can't believe that they paid £15,550 for this when they can get this http://www.oregoninstruments.com/product.asp?itmky =882426 [oregoninstruments.com] for US$129.00.

    Granted, the cop version has more memory and a screen but...???

    • Don't forget the computer back at the station with a dock for each camera to recharge and upload the video, and the custom software to do it and archive the footage with records of which police officer and what time period the video covers etc.

      £2000 per camera sounds like a snip for professional kit made into a bespoke system.
  • by thePig (964303)
    Each camera has a 45* viewing angle only?
    I find that a little odd.
    I would have expected 2 or max 3 cameras, but 8 is a little too much.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      I would have expected 2 or max 3 cameras, but 8 is a little too much.

      Overlapping fields of view for 3D capability?

      -b.

  • by eno2001 (527078) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:51PM (#16940046) Homepage Journal
    Bush administration officials announced today that for national security, homeland security will be installing cameras in every American's underpants starting on 1 January 2007. The cameras are to protect America from the evils of sin and sex and to provide the senators and congressmen with easy access to protect the jewel of American society: the teen boy. This plan is part of a larger project that was spearheaded by the departed Donald Rumsfeld last year who departed amid criticisms that he encourage homosexual acts in Abu Grahib as a method of stress relief for the soldiers. His original "Operation Panty-cam" plan was discouraged due to concerns about the name and what it implied.
  • by ciaohound (118419) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @04:51PM (#16940054)
    Seriously. I bicycle a lot, and cyclists experience all kinds of aggression from people in cars -- flipping the bird, shouting, throwing things. First it scares the crap out of you, but once fear subsides, you want to get even. If you had a camera on your bike helmet, well, your memory would be admissible as evidence. As this technology gets cheaper, I have to think that ordinary citizens may choose to protect themselves in this way.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      First it scares the crap out of you, but once fear subsides, you want to get even.

      A kick in the door usually works well, especially if you're on a motorcycle and have steel toed motorcycle boots on. I've had some guy try to squeeze me out when I was commuting by bicycle and I was moving faster on the shoulder than the line of cages on the road. I put a nice ding in the assprick's door.

      -b.

  • Due to hereditary hair, and the fact that you can't really wear a baseball cap with a suit and tie, I want nice men's hats to make a comeback in popular fashion. Maybe the growing use of CCTV will help my cause. Has anyone done a study to determine how wide a brim is needed to hide one's face from a typical CCTV camera? Will a bowler or fedora suffice, or do we need to go for a full sombrero?
    • by Colin Smith (2679)
      Just be a trendsetter. On wet days a hat's a good alternative to carrying an umbrella if you get a waterproof one and on hot days it prevents skin cancer. You'll need a Barmah hat, a wide fedora or something like that.

       
  • ...the gun that shoots around corners. [newscientist.com]
  • I hear they're upgrading to these single-officer personnel carriers...

    REGULATE! REGULATE! REGULATE! th' law... [wikipedia.org]
  • This is my borough, so I'll have to keep a look out, although I didn't realise there was any particular problem around here with antisocial behaviour. There's some other interesting bits in that Police news link though. Apparently there's some 'airport-style arches' (presumably metal detectors) and automated number plate recognition going on as well. I think I might mail them and ask them how long they store their numberplate information for...

    There... done. It'll be interesting to read their reply.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by arkhan_jg (618674)
      If it's part of the countrywide APNR network, it's 2 years in a central database, or up to 6 years if part of a log thats used in evidence in a court case - even if you're not the person in court,
  • Public Eyes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday November 21, 2006 @05:15PM (#16940496) Homepage Journal
    If the cops are required to log their entire shifts in video to an auditable repository every day, then this tech will serve the public well. Let them take 15 minute privacy breaks every couple of hours, as long as their partner stays on duty, logging their outro/intro from the break.

    Cops could file most reports by voiceover annotations of what they videoed. Most of their court and other official testimony could be submitted as sworn video/narration. That would save hours of time doing what they do worst, paperwork, and keeping them engaged in the scene. Offering "eyewitness evidence" with an interpreter. Returning the "word" of the cop to the more reliable status cops want it to be. Offering juries firsthand experience of how cops might have made an honest mistake. And creating a library of suspects useable by the entire justice system, once accepted as evidence on probable cause.

    And keeping cops honest. Which protects the good ones, which accounts for 99% of the hours cops work. This system would also capture, or deter, the other 1% that does so much harm. While increasing productivity on the street and on the case, cutting costs and corroborating credibility.

    We have to keep in mind that technology will continue to make the distinctions between public and private more operational. So we should exploit our systems for improving the public behavior we expect. While also protecting the privacy we expect, which allows the public to function. So these records should be private, stored for limited durations unless court ordered, and never shared except within explicitly court ordered transactions.

    Britain doesn't even have a Constitution, so I don't know how they'll protect that privacy. But after they'd played around with this tech and these rights for a while, we in the US will have even more reason to add a Privacy Amendment to our Constitution to protect ourselves. Combined with improved police protection, we can be more secure. Or, without protections on both sides of the public/private boundry, we'll all be made criminals.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Britain doesn't even have a Constitution, so I don't know how they'll protect that privacy.

      They do, sort of. The Magna Charta.

      But after they'd played around with this tech and these rights for a while, we in the US will have even more reason to add a Privacy Amendment to our Constitution to protect ourselves.

      As they say in Parliament, Hear, Hear!

      -b.

  • Imagine that you are a victim of a crime but nobody believes you, what better evidence could you have than a camera recording of the crime? Surely being able to record crimes is useful and a Good Thing. If we record anything, then this not only helps justice but also the people, the victims, and those who are innocent but are being accused of a crime. The problem is twofold: First the rights to privacy and the possibility of misuse. Cameras are just tools, and can be misused in a myriad of ways, just like n
  • than with fixed installations of cameras.

    If a police office can see me with his eyes then these things can serve as an accurate record of what happened near him without further invasion of my privacy. These things may see me occasionally... but they monitor the officer all the time. Police need to be watched more than almost any regular citizen. Quis Custodiet Custodes Ipsos and all that.

    If the original record is relatively tamper proof (Ha!) this could serve as a good recourse against police by citizens wh
  • Citizens should fight these big brother activities by turning the concept on its head. Just as we as citizens are concerned about "big brother" activities, corrupt politicians and law enforcement officers should be trembling in their boots over "little brother".

    What does "little brother" do? He tattles on "big brother". That's us watching them.

    At-risk citizens - citizens at-risk to be victims of big brother abuse - should be provided with concealed video recording devices that interoperate with their cell p
  • As someone who installs CCTV (goobye karma) I've held my tongue on quite a few occasions here, but you can 'stop' all this.
    The data protection laws introduced about two years ago give you a few few tools. Firstly, any CCTV recording OR monitoring system in public places must be announced (this includes places that you are invited into automatically, like shops etc), the announcing sign must state 3 things, that there is a monitoring/recording system in use, for what purpose it is there (and the purpose of
  • Kent: We've come up with a camera so tiny it fits into this oversized
    novelty hat.
    [Homer puts it on, and struggles to stand upright]
    Now, go get us some incriminating footage, and remember: you have
    to get in and out in ten minutes, or you'll suffer permanent neck
    damage.
    Man: [neck hor
  • Why use 8? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Brad1138 (590148)
    I have thought of this in the past. Wouldn't 1 camera aimed up at reflective sphere pick up everything 360 degrees around (exept straight up, but the 8 cameras wouldn't get that either). You would need to use a computer to display the image correcly but in the end I think it would work well.

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