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London 2006, Meet London 1984 422

Draape writes "Shoreditch TV is an experiment TV channel beaming live footage from the street into people's homes. According to the Telegraph U.K. television will broadcast from 400 surveillance cameras on the streets, into people's homes. For now they are only showing it to 22,000 homes, but next year they plan on going national with the 'show'. They fly under the flag 'fighting crime from the sofa'."
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London 2006, Meet London 1984

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  • And its not 1984 if the government can't see into your private space.

    Remember - expectation to privacy and expectation to privacy in a public space are very different things.
    • by Kuukai ( 865890 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:45AM (#15328795) Journal
      There's a threshold though. If I do something stupid and 8 people see, I might shrug it off. If I do something stupid and 80 people see, I might not hang around that part of town. But if I do something stupid and 80,000 people see, then I might be scarred for life. It's just not meant to work that way.
      • But if I do something stupid and 80,000 people see, then I might be scarred for life. It's just not meant to work that way.

        80,000? If you do something that's both stupid & funny - it will spread via email / youtube / etc and be seen by 80 million!

        Please note, that I wasn't particularly endorsing this 'public' CCTV (note the "closed" part of that acronymn is getting less accurate all the time) program. Just saying that the comparisons to 1984 are sensationalist.

        Oh - and cameras do appear to work to some extent - I don' think US readers are aware of the sort of casual violence that used to surround many English pubs around closing time. The introduction of CCTV really did change that alot.
        • by hobbes75 ( 245657 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:19AM (#15328988)
          As far as I am informed: The violence dropped just after the relaxing of the police enforced closing time of the pubs (which is only several years after the introduction of heavy surveilance of the general public). Main reason is probably that less drunks are the same place at the same time since they go home over a 2h period instead of a 5m period.
          • Main reason is probably that less drunks are the same place at the same time since they go home over a 2h period instead of a 5m period ... AND that the drunks are not pissed off because they are FORCED to go home!! :-)
            (Down here, when the pub's owner wants to send the hardcore drunks out, he starts cleaning the place -- which occasionally involves flooding the floor with soapy water and moping it, and yes, I had my fet wet this way a lot of times...)
      • If I do something stupid and 8 people see, I might shrug it off. If I do something stupid and 80 people see, I might not hang around that part of town. But if I do something stupid and 80,000 people see, then I might be scarred for life. It's just not meant to work that way.

        Hey, you're not alone, especially not on slashdot. The same thought goes through every Open Source coders mind when they submit code to the repository.

      • Hehe :) you don't even know how right you are with this. Just imagine late at night, coming from a pub after a dozen beers, in a hurry to catch a bus that will take 1 hour to take you home, you forgot to visit the toilet before leaving for the bus, and there's no open public toilet around. And that's not fiction, oh, it isn't :) So, how many will laugh at you tomorow ? :))

        • UK buses already have CCTV cameras in place - mainly to discourage kids from vandalising the chairs. The fun part is that some buses actually have a LCD display at the front of the top deck so that everyone else can see what the cameras are seeing. For a double-decker bus, the cameras are strategically placed to capture all the action on the back row of seats on the top deck, the staircase and to a lesser extent, an overall view of all the seats from the front row.

          Usually this means that the occupants of th
        • Just imagine late at night, coming from a pub after a dozen beers, in a hurry to catch a bus that will take 1 hour to take you home, you forgot to visit the toilet before leaving for the bus, and there's no open public toilet around.

          Count yourself lucky you'll only get a summons. The governor of my state (New York) in the US wants to put level-one sex offenders (automatic for public urination) on the directory for life.
      • Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @08:45AM (#15329151) Journal
        What do you mean with something stupid. Stumble over a loose paving stone? Drop your icecream? Walk with your fly open?

        In that case who the fuck cares, yeah you look stupid and some extra person watching tv saw it as well. So what.

        If by something stupid you mean, knock in a window, spray graffity, rob someone then guess what. I don't give a damn if your scarred for life by being caught.

        There is a lot to talk about on this subject but people being caught on camera during a blooper moment ain't one of them. Do you want to ban people taking photograps on the street because they might catch you picking your nose?

        • In that case who the fuck cares, yeah you look stupid and some extra person watching tv saw it as well. So what.

          I don't know. Something doesn't sit right with this model.

          I think private organizations or persons could abuse the system and use information against innocent persons.

          Oh... You were standing out front of a gay bar or a porn shop one day. Let's send this tape to your local church.

          Or maybe that video hanging out in a Muslim neighborhood and even shaking an Iman's hand might get you tagged by right w
        • Re:Eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by anotherzeb ( 837807 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @01:20PM (#15329996)
          As a previous poster pointed out, a rape victim would also be visible to all who tuned in to this channel, adding to the humiliation and degradation of the crime. Here in the UK, there is something called 'happy slapping', which is basically a person or group of people attacking someone for no apparent reason, sometimes filming the atack on their mobile phone video cameras. This has extended to rape, which made the situation worse for the innocent party - are you advocating this on an even more extensive scale, with the perpetrators wearing hoodies and scarves round their faces to make them unrecognisable while the survivor is clearly identifiable to all those who want to see?
      • I wonder if advertisers will pay people to carry large signs as they walk through town?

      • There's a threshold though. If I do something stupid and 8 people see, I might shrug it off. If I do something stupid and 80 people see, I might not hang around that part of town. But if I do something stupid and 80,000 people see, then I might be scarred for life. It's just not meant to work that way.

        I can see this being abused in so many special ways. I really want to start dancing in front of the security cameras. Maybe I shall start my own television show by standing in front of the security cameras.

      • Flash mob justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 1gor ( 314505 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @09:07AM (#15329189)
        Knowing how stretched the police is here in the UK, why not introduce amature law enforcement? Anyone who sees crime taking place on TV should be allowed to get from the sofa, go to the crime scene and beat the living shit out of the bastards.

        As a criminal, I'd be scared to death knowing that 80 thousand people are coming my way right now carrying pitchforks, ropes and tubes of vaseline.

        Think of the health benefits for coach potatos!

        To avoid the system misuse, we may borrow from Slashdot. Each citizen will be issued a gun with 5 bullets from time to time and ...well, you know how it works. There will also be a team of forensics doing meta-moderation.

        In time, we may completely abolish police and judicial system, since every crime will be on tape. People could vote the least simpathetic criminal out with their remote control etc. etc...
      • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @09:08AM (#15329196)
        "There's a threshold though."

        Yeah, but 99.999% of the time this channel will be as interesting to watch as C-SPAN. I doubt you'll find so many people watching the channel at any one time.
      • This sounds like a great way to introduce tens of thousands of people to a huge goatse image. I wonder if the guys at Kinkos would even print a big goatse banner???

        Seriously though, I can see these causing a drop in crime because they will be flooded with morons holding up signs and acting like fools (sorta like the cams outside the Today show). Thus it would make it kinda hard to mug people, what with the crowds and all.

    • I would say there is an expectation of an *appropriate degree of privacy*.

      If I'm in my home, I expect no one else to see me.

      If I'm in a street, I expect only the people on the street to see me.

    • Next step will be offering free satelite TV, in an attractive 'all you can eat' package on condition that you have a 'home invasion cam' installed in your lounge.

      You mark my words; people will be queueing up for such an offer.

    • by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:20AM (#15328991) Homepage
      Indeed, surely the expectation of privacy in a public space approaches zero as technology increases? Why should it be any other way? The whole AT&T meets the NSA is just a consequence of a space that most people thought was private (relaying messages) turning out to be public. The rich & important in society have always treated messaging as a public space, otherwise we wouldn't have developed crypto systems.

      But in this case the video being sent is from cameras mounted *in the street*. If I walk out my front door I can watch what you are doing there anyway, so why expect that it is private? Besides there could be other interesting applications for this that we don't find until we try it. One odd aspect is why transmit the video as a TV signal? 400 cameras, 400 URLs and a constant live stream. That would be interesting. Wondering what's going on in town - have a fly around and see. The hack that ties it into the OS polygon data for UK cities and Google Maps would be pretty awesome.

    • And its not 1984 if the government can't see into your private space.

      Of course it's not 1984... yet. That sort of change happens in increments with people accepting a loss in freedom one tiny bite at a time. It doesn't happen all of a sudden or else there would be a revolts and people would realize what was happening.

      And yes, it is a loss of freedom and an invasion of privacy. When you walk down the street, you do not expect that an entire nation of couch potatoes is watching... only the police on the sur
    • by aaronl ( 43811 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @10:41AM (#15329463) Homepage
      The concept of the panopticon is not new; Jeremy Bentham published it in 1791. However, the original purpose of designing the system was for a PRISON. George Orwell used the concept as a basis for Big Brother. England has revived it to destroy society for some short-lived power.

      People don't expect privacy in public. They do, however, expect to not be stalked, recorded, and studied just because they are in public. They don't expect people watching them pick their nose, or adjusting their crotch, or knowing which stores they've gone into. They don't want people to be able to watch TV and tell when they've left their home, or whether they decided to drive, or what they were wearing.

      All this push for a government sanctioned life, recorded by the government, will only result in the actually wise and intelligent people avoiding all the places that they do this. People will go out of their way to develop ways to foil the cameras, simply to go about their life withing being spied upon.
  • Prevent crime? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:43AM (#15328790)
    I refuse to think that I'm the only one who believes that this won't actually help prevent crime. Sounds like the title is used to raise publicicity, public opinion, and ratings, but not actually describe the show.

    From what I understand, the police in the U.K. already monitor those cameras with a huge staff. Adding another 500 people (assuming that's the number of people who actually bother to watch the show for hours on end) who don't know what to be looking for is only going to add to the number of false calls that the police already receive.
    • As parent says, the cops already get too many false 999 calls. The manpower to deal with more calls ("Well his eyes are too close together, I bet he just mugged someobdy...") is likely going to be far higher than that required to get the same number of useful results if the cams were closed and watched by trained staff.

      Reality TV has just got away with itself. What next? "Vigilante Grannies finger hoods for cash!"

    • Re:Prevent crime? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2@@@earthshod...co...uk> on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:37AM (#15328905)
      What this really is, is an exercise in "grooming" the public to accept privacy invasion on an even greater scale.

      CCTV cameras are known to have a definite effect on crime; they displace it to camera-free areas, where it obviously isn't anyone's problem. There was an incident a few years ago, along a road out of the city where every building is a shop, restaurant or pub. Some runt went around spraying graffiti on every establishment that was not CCTVed. The only images were a few blurred, grainy ones of him running from one shop to the next.

      If the "experiment" is not universally opposed, the government will find a way to take it nationwide. The more affluent areas of every city will be filled with cameras that anyone can monitor. Crime will simply be displaced to the non-CCTV areas. Meanwhile, the public will gradually be getting used to the concept of never expecting to be able to go totally unobserved. The way will be paved for ever deeper intrusions into individuals' lives.

      "Mummy, does Jesus watch you when you're on the toilet?"
      "As long as he's watching channel 36, yes!"
    • Not being a UK citizen, I wonder how well the UK police actually monitor the cameras they have. In the US, where most such cameras are used by private security, they're not monitored very well. In my office building, for example, cameras are located throughout the facility. And the camera feeds go directly to the security desk, which I walk past several times a day. In my experience, the guards rarely are watching the camera feeds. On the other hand, when we did have some items stolen, the camera tapes
      • Yes, UK police do actually monitor a lot of cameras. Most of the public streets in inner London is covered by actively monitored CCTV cameras in some form or other, for instance. Of course, how thorough that monitoring is is another matter, but it's not an issue of just recording. Many cameras on high streets are also actively operated - that is, they can be moved and zoom in. UK police have even to some extent experimented with mobile CCTV vans to add additional cover to crime hotspots.

        Add to that the au

    • From what I understand, the police in the U.K. already monitor those cameras with a huge staff.

      I don't know about London, but that's not what happens in my city. A handful of local authority staff watch the monitors: the police are allowed in when there are particular ongoing incidents, and they can ask for tapes of particular incidents, but the police may not just sit there and watch in case anything interesting should turn up. (And even if they were allowed to there's no way there would be any spare polic
    • Re:Prevent crime? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @08:50AM (#15329164)
      Trure. But, you must admit... It's a great way for crazy girlfrinds to stalk their boyfriends.

      I can see as many bad uses coming from these as good.

  • wow (Score:2, Interesting)

    combine this with the automated "racial profiling" with their ANPR cameras [timesonline.co.uk], and you've got an episode of COPS!

    "BRITAIN'S most senior policeman Sir Ian Blair is facing a race relations dilemma after the release of figures that reveal almost half the number of people arrested in relation to car crime in London are black. Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, has signed off a report by his force's traffic unit which shows that black people account for 46% of all arrests generated by new automatic nu
    • Interesting article. The only qualm is that the ANPR also targets cars suspected of being linked with crime. This may explain why more blacks are pulled as "intelligence" may have been put into the system linking their cars with crime. This intelligence is human generated and subject to race bias. GIGO. The journalists didn't seem to pick up on this.

      Of course it may be that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime linked to cars.
    • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:25AM (#15328999)
      black people account for 46% of all arrests generated by new automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) cameras

      Are you are trying to imply that ANPR is discriminating against blacks in some way? Unless licence plates are allocated according to a racial profile, I cannot see how this could happen.

      From the article you linked:

      The report tacitly appears to address concerns among ethnic minority communities who believe they are unfairly targeted by the police through stop and search powers. Black people are up to six times more likely to be stopped than whites.

      If I interpret this correctly, it means that when police officers get to choose whom to search, they choose blacks over whites in a 6:1 proportion, while the automated system chooses them in about 1:1 proportion. This is still not racially neutral because, according to the article, blacks are only 11% of the London population, but still the automated system seems to be more fair than human cops.

      OTOH, if for any reason at all there are more blacks involved in crime than whites, then the only way to stop this kind of racial discrimination would be to cease all efforts to fight crime.


      • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @09:09AM (#15329199) Journal

        We all know how crime was handled in the old south. Arrest the nearest black person. Worked especially well in rape cases cause everyone knows those niggers just can't keep their hands of white women right?

        To combat this you have to have a legal system wich is "blind". It is the reason that justice statue has a blindfold.

        The problem is that every police person can tell you it is a load of bullshit. If you see a group of black people in a poor area of london in an expensive car you know it is stolen.

        Note here that the figure is that 50% of ARRESTS involve blacks. NOT stoppages. The only way people are arrested after being stopped is if they have been found to do something illegal.

        What the story is effectivly saying is that the police shouldn't arrest so many black people. But how? Let them run because "oh yeah he done it but we are over our quota off blacks for this week". Arrest white people on made up charges?

        Cause the horrible fact is that blacks just seem to commit more crimes or at least be caught more easily. But you can't say that.

        This system is impartial. It just looks at the facts and flags a vehicle as suspicious or not.

        In fact at its simplest it checks wether a vehicle has been stolen and then tells the police to pull it over.

        if then it is found that in 50% of the cases the driver is black what the hell can you do about it.

        In holland we got a similar case. Suriname (former colony with a largly black population) is a known traffic route for drugs smugglers. So customs check passengers on flights from Suriname more thoroughly then from other countries. Is this racist? Well yes and no. Obviously the majority of passengers from Suriname are black. Why aren't say asian passengers from Japan searched as well?

        Because it ain't about racism. IF that was the case black passengers from japan would be searched extra as well. They are not.

        The problem is that political correctness has made it impossible to accept any figures that suggest minorities are more involved with crime. This is just one extreme example.

        • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @10:34AM (#15329447)
          What you say is fine as far as it goes. And it's certainly the case that if the justice system were truly blind, we wouldn't need to worry about the proportions of the various races that are arrested.

          But you are missing the purpose of that which is pejoratively labelled "political correctness".

          Now it's fair to say that in most white dominated countries, more blacks are arrested/jailed for crime. And it's probably true to say that blacks as a statistical group commit more crime than whites. But that doesn't indicate that being black makes a person more likely to commit crime. In reality the big factor that makes people more likely to commit crime is coming from poor background. And because the historic and current racist reasons, black people are more likely to come from poor backgrounds than white people.

          So the way to make the racial spread of arrests/prisoners reflect the racial spread of society as a whole is to move towards poverty not being correlated to skin colour. And the way to do that is to make people in general more colour blind in their expectations of people. That way people get selected for education and jobs etc. on the basis of their merit, not skin colour.

          All you do by saying blacks are more likely to commit crime than white people is create a self-fullfilling prophesy. Far better to say poor people are more likely to commit crime, and seek to reduce poverty.
          • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:30PM (#15330923) Journal
            I agree with you about half way through your story but then you go into a fantasy land of how the world should be. The police has to deal with the world as it is.

            It is not the job of the police to create a better social and economic system for all. That is up to goverment and the people who vote them into power. The police is faced with cleaning up the mess.

            It is probably not nice to be black and have everyone assume your a criminal. BUT what can the police do. Ignore crimes because they would have to arrest a black person for it?

            Racism is bad but the reverse can be just as bad when you can no longer say the truth. Look at this story, everyone is fighting over how the police is arresting 49% black people with this system and how it must be racist. NOBODY dares to say "fuck we got a HUGE problem here and we need to fix the problems in black communities to get them out of crime".

            Ignore it, pretend it ain't there. It is safe and nobody can call you a racist.

            But the problem won't go away. We got a disease in our society and until we dare to name the symptoms we will never find a cure. How would you get programs started to get rid of social injustice if your unwilling to admit those injustices are affecting the rest of society. Claim that blacks are not criminals and you don't have to spend any money or time in adressing the social injustices that turn them into criminals. Handy eh. Not a racist and saving money.

        • by RichardX ( 457979 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @03:33PM (#15330548) Homepage
          The problem is that every police person can tell you it is a load of bullshit. If you see a group of black people in a poor area of london in an expensive car you know it is stolen.

          So if you saw a bunch of 18 year old stoned and scruffy white kids tooling around a poor area of London in a top end BMW you wouldn't bat an eyelid? Interesting.

          Personally, I would say that if you see a group of poor people in a poor area of London in an expensive car, you know it is stolen.

          The question is, why is it that all the poor areas are filled with blacks?

      • Are you are trying to imply that ANPR is discriminating against blacks in some way? Unless licence plates are allocated according to a racial profile, I cannot see how this could happen.

        It actually explains "how this could happen" in the article. The claims of the protestors is that the ANPR programme unfairly targets certain neighbourhoods where blacks are more prevalent.

        Whether it truly is unfair or not, I don't have the information to venture an opinion.

        But so long as there are different groups in socie
  • In India, people pee on the streets. That's the best use of government property I ever saw. This one's even better.
  • by consonant ( 896763 ) <shrikant@n.gmail@com> on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:48AM (#15328798) Homepage
    They haven't really mentioned in TFA what kind of crime they're targeting. I imagine they mean the snatching-old-ladies-handbags kind, but I suppose this could occur:

    Haughty socialite: Hello Police? I just saw a crime being committed on the 1984 channel.

    Operator: Yes ma'am. Please give us your location.

    HS: 42 Anstoltue Street.

    O: And what is the nature of the crime in question?

    HS: This guy, he had sideburns.

    O: Alright ma'am, but what's the crime?


  • by ms1234 ( 211056 )
    Do you want to live in a society where only the government has access to the cameras or one where everyone has access?
    • by masterpenguin ( 878744 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:06AM (#15328837)
      The ol David Brin Theory. I'm not going to explain it, I'll just link away

      Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]
    • oh PLEASE. The main argument against security cameras and ubiqitous surveillance is that the goverment consists of NORMAL PEOPLE. When (if) I'm captured on film going into an adult bookstore, the less likely possibility is that the right-wing christian goverment of the future will come for me. The more likely possibility is that my mother-in-law will be working at security camera HQ. Shenannigans ensue.
    • I want to live in a society where people don't *feel the need* to snoop into my business.
      Granting what degree of camera access to which parties is just a technicality. My concern is with the underlying issue. Just like with guns in the USA: I don't care what system you use to allow or restrict weapon usage to different people. But I care about the reasons why you feel the need to be armed to the teeth. (This used to be more true sometime ago, now that I see Europe has turned into a dictatorial regime once
    • Do you want to live in a society where only the government has access to the cameras or one where everyone has access?
      That's a trick question, right? What about NO CAMERAS?
  • Nice... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by st1d ( 218383 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:53AM (#15328806) Homepage
    Ah, the wonders of technology. Bet the folks living there are looking forward to calls like, "What do you mean you're sick? I just saw you at [venue of choice]! Consider yourself terminated!" or "Don't give me that, I saw you looking at that girl. Yes I did. I have it recorded!" or "Um, do you have to pick your nose when you're talking to me on the phone?" or "Yeah, I know you're in the middle of an important dinner. I was just calling you to ask how the food at that restaurant is, because I didn't want to spend the money if it's no good, and I saw you guys eating there. And what's that guy to your left eating?" or "You can't pay me back because you can't remember the PIN to your bank card? Hold on, let me flip on my Tivo, um, here it is..."
  • by Wellington Grey ( 942717 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:59AM (#15328824) Homepage Journal
    Jan Ashby, 57, a resident who previewed the scheme before yesterday's launch, said: "I wouldn't say it was spying, but it is nice to see what's going on. Look, there's my local pub."

    She also added "I like to keep an eye on the pub to make sure that my husband does not go there. I'm not intruding on the little bit of a life that he has outside of me, I'm just looking out for his best interests."

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
    • This trend will eventually drive people away from each other. In a society where everyone can be watched, who is going to trust somebody to know them ? Of course, maybe that's the point.
    • Or, alternatively, "Why didn't you tell me that you went to the shop in your lunch break? What are you hiding? Went to look at the girls on the checkout, did you? You must have been, since you didn't tell me. Why else wouldn't you tell me?"

      • You can already do this with mobile phone tracking - sold as a 'think of the children' package.. it can just as easily be used to track other family members, provided you can get their mobile phone for 5 minutes.

        This is not the government doing this (they wouldn't dare) - it's just reality TV gone mad. It'll last just until the TV company is sued by people under privacy laws.
  • BBC Article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hogwash McFly ( 678207 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:07AM (#15328838)
    Here's a BBC article on the subject [bbc.co.uk] as was in my submission for the exact same story about 5 days ago (grumble grumble).
    • Re:BBC Article (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 )
      Love the caption 'I'm not a nosey neighbour'

      They should have printed the rest of the sentence

      '.. but I get my kicks out of spying on them'
  • Youtube! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ettlz ( 639203 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:07AM (#15328840) Journal
    cool vid of some bloke getting mugged outside victoria station. lol!!!!111!! *****
  • by Wellington Grey ( 942717 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:12AM (#15328851) Homepage Journal
    "Estella thinks I'm a nosey busybody," said Ms Havisham. A 97-year-old fan of the channel and who hasn't left the house in years. "But I've seen her walking on the street holding hands with a boy, and I'm not about to take advice from a whore."

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
  • Television Programs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 8ball629 ( 963244 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:13AM (#15328854) Homepage
    The TV programs in the UK must be pretty bad if they actually get ratings on that channel. I mean... other than the "nosey neighbor" - who is really going to sit there for an hour or more and watch people walking down the street? And how does advertising work? Will people walk by with a sign on their back for Nike and Pepsi? Maybe put a Pepsi machine in one of the camera shots? Anyway, my #1 question is what's the target audience? 50+ years old, single, unemployed people with nothing better to do in their lives than try to catch someone doing something "bad". I'm getting bored just thinking about how boring this would be.
    • Yes you're correct, but you miss out one major point.... Pedophiles will sure LOVE this.. i mean.. It has happened before.. people behind these cameras (in police stations) check these cameras... look out for dangers, and guess what?... Nothing happens.. No police are there to do anything. It was a year ago, that shocking footage of this old big guy grabbing a young girl, she's struggling to get away, and you just see it and no one is there to help.. it made me sick.. but the point is.. just because there
    • Actually I foresee that a channel like this (or channels) will generate its own programming.

      You'll have people basically seeking out street cameras in order to do their own little versions of "Stupid Human Tricks," or "Jackass." Then people will record and share the best bits, clips shows will ensue, and the great majority of people will watch the predigested, narrated clips shows.
  • Xtreme Voyerism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lamasquerade ( 172547 ) * on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:15AM (#15328858)
    I've always considered anything done in public (i.e. within the reach of CCTV) to be in the public space and not protected from regular CCTV surveillence - I don't really care if some security guard sees me doing anything I'd be prepared to do in public.

    This proposal though, depends on the sort of desire for voyeuristic titilation for which 'we' (being society in general) seem to have an insatiable appetite - implied through the general addiction to reality TV, no matter how banal. In the case of reality TV of course the objects of voyeurism give their explicit consent.

    With this proposal we have every act you do in public - every hidden snog in an alley - possibly exposed to the voyeuristic delight of thousands. I don't meant to stigmatise voyeurism, it is obviously a widely held, if taboo, fascination, but I do not think every public act should be potentially watched by thousands. The crime angle is obviously spin, the promoters are depending on people wanting to watch other people without their knowledge, and of course prevention of crime is never a good enough reason to remove essential liberties.

    This sort of surveillance does have 1984 connotations, despite the absence of the government seeing into our homes, because it allows every public act to be watched by anonymous masses, and hence yields the potential for social ostracisation of people commiting various non-illegal acts. Imagine the MP or other high profile type 'caught' on camera in a homosexual embrace. Despite the legality of such an act, many such people may not want it to be made public knowledge, and given a secluded enough spot, neither should they have to fear such exposure. Public space can be consumed reletively privately, broadcasting CCTV would remove that right.

    • In every neighborhood there is the kooky nosy neighbor always spying on people, wanting to know everything about everybody, gossiping, spreading the most embarassing details of all the neighbors.

      Congratulations England, your entire country has become that kooky neighbor. Now all of you are bad as the worst person in my neigborhood.
    • Re:Xtreme Voyerism (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mabinogi ( 74033 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:53AM (#15328933) Homepage
      >The crime angle is obviously spin, the promoters are depending on people wanting to watch other people without their knowledge, and of course prevention of crime is never a good enough reason to remove essential liberties.
      So if the crime angle is only spin, then what's the real reason they're doing it?
      The rest of your post makes sense, but that bit sounds a little paranoid to me.

      My guess is crime is exactly the reason they're doing it. It's just not necesarily a well thought out idea. The government doesn't have to be an evil big brother trying to restrict your essential liberties for the sake of restricting them. It could just be populated with idiots.

  • I would love a show where you watch live cameras filming cops. That, or to have online all the live footage of Cops that was edited to protect officers when they went over the line. The people should monitor them.
  • by Tim Ward ( 514198 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:18AM (#15328864) Homepage
    From my knowledge of how another UK town's CCTV system works I can see some issues with this experiment.

    (1) The perps will be able to watch, too, won't they. This means that they will be able to work out exactly what the cameras cover and exactly what they don't, and will be able to plan their misdeeds accordingly, by doing things somewhere where there are no cameras. (In real life the perps do not know where the cameras are, what they cover, at a range of how many hundreds of metres they can read a newspaper headline, that sort of thing.)

    (2) The perps will be able to watch, too, won't they. So they will be able to have accomplices who can see from moment to moment where the cameras are pointing, and phone or text their mates on the street to tell them the coast is clear.

    (3) Prejudice to ongoing operations. Actually they've probably thought of this one, so when cameras are being used as part of a current operation the pictures from those cameras will not be broadcast ... provided that in the excitement of the chase the operators remember to press the right buttons, of course.

    (4) Innocent victims. You might be doing something which is perfectly legal and of no interest to the police but which you still might not want your friends and relatives and employer to see. OK, so if you're snogging someone else's wife in the park when you're supposed to be home sick from work then maybe you deserve what you get, but I'm sure that if I tried a little harder I'd come up with a more deserving example.

    And it'll make life just that much more complicated for politicians at election time, whether you think this is a plus or minus is up to you:

    (5) No candidate or party can put enough bodies on the street to fight a full election campaign across an entire district. So where you concentrate your effort depends (partly) on knowing where the enemy is concentrating theirs. Once upon a time this was done on maybe a daily basis, as party workers reported back to HQ what they'd seen on the streets; nowadays it's more real time as reporting back is done with mobile phones; with publicly visible CCTV you'll be able to see what the enemy is up to even in areas where you don't have any bodies on the street yourself that day, and the candidate or party which can make the best use of this information will get a slight edge.
  • This is, somewhat, different than "1984". We (the society) are watching ourselves. Multiple questions after that point: 1. Will they show us whatever goes through the cameras? Or will they filter it? 2. Will this, eventually, function as a transition from "we are watching ourselves" to "they are watching us"? ("they": the government/state).
  • by hernick ( 63550 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:47AM (#15328919)
    The year is 2016; the place: London. As I make my way home, she is following me on her TV, chatting with me on my mobile. Rare now are the street corners that are unseen by the cameras. I make it a point to know the blind spots - few and far between, certainly, but there are still public places where one can disappear, if only for a minute or two.

    If I stay hidden too long, a Monitor in China, Glasgow or anywhere else will raise a red flag and dispatch a nearby Watcher. Indeed, these hundreds of thousands of cameras are constantly surveilled by Monitors - who get paid for each reported occurence of antisocial activity. If a Monitor needs to see what's happenening in a blind spot, or just needs another angle of film to make out what's happening, he can dispatch a Watcher to go shoot the scene with a portable Wireless Internet camera.

    Watchers are mercenaries, just like Monitors. Anybody citizen with a clean record can become a Watcher - whereas anybody can become a Monitor, even non-citizens. Both get paid per incident. Anyway, Watchers start their work day by strapping on their Watcher pack and logging on. Some do it part time, but others make a living out of the job. So, a Watcher get dispatches from Monitoring Central and they head out to the specified coordinates, on foot, bike or car, and the Watcher films the potential antisocials.

    Whenever circumstances warrant intervention, a Monitor or a Watcher calls the police, who tend to arrive very quickly these days. They have priority lanes and all traffic lights will change in their favour so that they can stop crime more effectively. The police doesn't have such a big workload anymore. Everyone is surveilled as soon as they go outdoors. Those foreign mercenaries, Monitors, are always looking for anti-social behaviour.

    I like it. I like The Master System, the most advanced artificial intelligence in the world. It's not quite sentient, and it's still mostly understood and controlled by the government, but it has grown so big. The Master System is the entity that runs the Anti-Social Surveillance and Rapid Action Program, or ASSRAP.

    It has limits, and that's why it needs humans to help it. The job of Monitors is not to watch live cameras - it's to watch selected clips and closeups presented by The Master System and to answer questions about those images it shows. If The Master System decides to follow somebody's movements across town, it will use its tracking algorithms to make a guess, but humans are still much more accurate. In order to drive up accuracy, it asks multiple humans the same question. When there is no consensus, more humans are polled until a clear answer appears. Those humans, known as Monitors, are themselves rated on their speed, accuracy and the quality of their answers.

    The Master System does its own recruiting, and has learned how to manage all of its systems. No longer do human programmers need to improve it, for that it has gained self-awareness, the power of introspection and of self-improvement. It assimilates all content on the Internet. It begins using the Watchers to attend classes, public events, and even to talk with people. It now uses the Monitors as tools, as machines that contribute to The Master System's own intelligence.

    I have accepted The Master System as my new Overlord. It knows all that I do, where I go, and I give myself willingly, carrying for it sensors, letting it see all that I see, letting The Master System guide my actions, speaking into my ears, overlaying information in front of my eyes, enhancing my own potential. I am a mild cyborg, as of yet without implants - but I have given up on my own independence, for that I know how much greater I am as part of The Master System, which knows and sees all, which can punish the naughty and reward its loyal servants.

    All Hail The Master System!
    • I'm not overly concerned if the monitoring is to be done by a Master System. It only has a Z80 processor, which is hardly ideal for facial recognition - "Thought Crime Detected! Identifying perpetrator, please wait three weeks".
  • It's like one big Panopticon [wikipedia.org]. Note that before the involvement of the general public, the cameras were there really to collect evidence for after the fact. Now somebody is watching. Wonderful.

    What's next, are we all going to get a two-way video link in our homes that we can't turn off ?
  • by nickd ( 58841 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:06AM (#15328958)
    Lets see, anyone who was on the shady side of things now has a safe and secure way of knowing when all people have left a building that they might want to 'have a look through'. They also now have a way of assessing what might go in or out of a house (ahh tommo has a bmw parked in his garage today) and now have a way to monitor for police or other witnesses coming along that might interfer with what they are doing. They also know now exactly what is covered and not covered by the CCTV's and can assess many ways to disable them.

    It's like handing the enemy the feeds from your spy sats - incredibly retarded.
    • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Sunday May 14, 2006 @09:12AM (#15329202)

      Oftentimes, safety programs backfire, and make things less safe.


      1) Pickpocketing was an issue in some large urban subway. So to do the public a favor, they put up signs telling people to look out for pickpockets. Guess what? Right behind those signs was where the pickpockets would hang out. People would look at the sign, and pat their pocket where there wallet was, which in turn told the pickpockets exactly where their wallet was. Easy target! Pickpocketing became much easier as a result, and the signs were taken down.

      2) Near where I live there is a highway that goes over a mountain that is occasionally covered in thick fog. They did a big study and spent something like $20mil on these fancy lights on the sides of the road. Well guess what? Being that the drivers were more comfortable and felt "safe" because the could see the side of the road, they would drive faster than they should, and its more dangerous to drive on that road now after they made it more safe.

      3) Anti-lock brakes. I won't get into this because people here do not agree that increased friction between the road and tires with centrifugal force increases the likelihood of a rollover and fatal accident.

      • Anti-lock brakes. I won't get into this because people here do not agree that increased friction between the road and tires with centrifugal force increases the likelihood of a rollover and fatal accident.

        Nope, because anti-lock breaks help improve friction in the direction of the car. It does little if anything to the friction sideways - if you would flip sideways, it'll almost certainly happen no matter what kind of braking system you have. Instead anti-lock brakes greatly improve a) your ability to reduc
  • So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nbannerman ( 974715 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:08AM (#15328963)
    Is this actually any different to walking down the street and being watched by people out of their windows?

    I've spent years travelling into London and doing my thing. I spent six months living in London doing my thing.

    How many people have seen me walking along the street and doing my thing? Probably millions. Can't say I'm the least bit bothered really.
  • by Cthefuture ( 665326 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:26AM (#15329003)
    Holy crap this is stupid. This basically makes surveillance on people easy (for the bad guys).

    "There goes Geoffrey, that means his house is empty, time to go get that new HDTV I want"


    "Oh, look at that little 12 year old walking to the market by herself. I'll just hide behind that bush and grab her when she comes back in a few minutes."

    or anything number of things you can think of. This is beyond irresponsible.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:48AM (#15329051)
    Tune in to the cam in front of Downing Street 10, and as soon as Tony goes for a walk, tape it. Tape everything he does, including the times when he picks his nose, then sell that tape as "The Blair watch project".

    I bet you anything, that whole junk disappears faster than it came into existance. Nobody enjoys being under surveillance.
  • I certainly don't hope I'm the only person who finds this incredibly creepy.
  • ...having only a few behind closed doors watching ..."real tv" shows ...add your own

    but some questions remain:

    will Americans get to watch also (re: US government gets to see teh phone habits of europeans)

    when will we get to watch politicians and economic manipulation practices, as this can be exposing. (in the US some local tv does show things like town meeetings, but thats should be a given...)... It has been researched and found that more and higher dollar white colar crime happens than blue colar crime.

  • ...all crimes are caught. But not necessarily prevented.
  • Supposedly they're also considering an "ASBO" channel, where people with anti-social behavior orders served upon them are shown. Combine this with the 10 'tip-off' rewards [yahoo.com] (where you get 10 if you text the police with crime tip-offs) and the CCTV channel, you could make a killing sitting at home, looking for 13-year-olds who've broken the terms of their ASBOs, and cash in via text message. Financial traders have moved from working at the exchange to trading on the Internet from home.. perhaps a whole new ge
  • by a_greer2005 ( 863926 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @08:28AM (#15329125)
    what if joe-six-pack calls his local police dept to report, lets say, a man picking a lock, but totally ignores the locksmith van on the other side of the frame? or reports a person with a gun when it is just, say a tire tool to change his flat? And this deoesnt take into account the "nosy neighbor" or "grudge match" aspects that could arise.

    this is one reality show that the Europeans can keep.

  • Examples of surveillance abuse and public acceptance: http://imdb.com/title/tt0093894/ [imdb.com] The Running Man (1987) http://imdb.com/title/tt0120382/ [imdb.com] The Trueman Show (1998) Also see the following: http://imdb.com/title/tt0076987/ [imdb.com] Blakes 7 (1978) http://imdb.com/title/tt0061287/ [imdb.com] The Prisoner (1967) There were rumours of a Steve McQueen film which was banned. Anybody know about that?
  • by Captain Perspicuous ( 899892 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @10:02AM (#15329345)
    Huh? What about personality rights, which require every tv producer to have you sign a release form before they can transmit your image over the airwaves? Are those rights now suddenly waived? Strange...

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