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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.
  • 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.
  • by ms1234 ( 211056 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @05:49AM (#15328799)
    Do you want to live in a society where only the government has access to the cameras or one where everyone has access?
  • 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..."
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:07AM (#15328839)
    We aren't that close to "1984". Yes, at a very superficial level we have some of it's infrastructure in place, but socially and politically we seem to be creeping to the dangerous area of "Brave New World"
  • by giorgiofr ( 887762 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:11AM (#15328849)
    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 again, I start to understand why weapons might be desired)
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by Walter Carver ( 973233 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:27AM (#15328884) Homepage
    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 joshier ( 957448 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @06:36AM (#15328902)
    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 are cameras doesn't make the place "secure". Anyway, apparrently she got away.. but the point of it is.. Pedophiles like him will love this.. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be fucking filmed when I'm in public for everyone on the internet to snoop on.. fucking nosey cunts. And what happens... Old people or whatever watch this show.. they see a women get raped.. they phone up as fast as they can (of course, they're not the police, so they don't interfere) and what happens next?.. Everyone knows that women has just got rapped, and the victim has just been ridiculed on camera with over 20 thousand people watching.. Yeah, Get TV! fucking nice one.. cock suckers... fucking hell.
  • 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!
  • 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.

  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:01AM (#15328954)
    That's called a 'hyperbole'.

    But let's consider a real situation: your house may be a private space and out-of-bounds for cameras, but all exits will be constantly monitored.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Oh yes!! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by joshier ( 957448 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:13AM (#15328974)
    This is just 'effin brilliant!

    I happen to be a pedophile and a rapist, and I cannot WAIT! to subscribe to this :).. Oh yes indeed..

    Of course.. Once I subscribe, I can watch full REAL-LIFE Rapings, What a wonder!.. Thank heaven for this public survelince system, without it, I might even be convicted as a criminal if I just watched a women get raped 10 feet away, but now it is on TV I have no problem! No criminal record for me! WoooHoo!

    Oh and, I can't wait to watch another one of those innocent children get proper ruffed up, grabbed and raped, it will be such a wonderful sight and I will keep splashing my money over to this system since I can freely feast my ultimate pleasures on it without even worrying one bit!

    Also, think about the public humiliation that the women who just got rapped proper on 21st street for EVERYONE who's watching to know all about it, to actually SEE it ALL happen! I wonder how happy that women will feel walking into walk, or even in the public knowing full well she has just been on TV for not just normal peoeple who think this system actually deters crime, but actual other-rapists who delve into this kind of material... Wonderful Yes!
  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:16AM (#15328981)
    Not to mention 6) Stalker's dream come true. Watch from the comfort of your own home when your victim leaves the house, her habits and when she's most vulnerable.
  • 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.

  • 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 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.
  • Re:BBC Article (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <> on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:32AM (#15329016) Homepage
    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'
  • 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.
  • by Dante Shamest ( 813622 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:56AM (#15329068)
    ...all crimes are caught. But not necessarily prevented.
  • by l3v1 ( 787564 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @08:27AM (#15329123)
    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 ? :))

  • 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.

  • by xeoron ( 639412 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @08:35AM (#15329137) Homepage
    Although, oversight is important, this would make a wonderful tool for planning crime, stalking, and tracking down people that went into hiding ( example witness protection people, if they have a program like this ). Because of this, it might be better to not let everyone have access to such channels
  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by xigxag ( 167441 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @09:43AM (#15329291)

    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 society, the mainstream group can always target other groups by concentrating on illegal "behaviour" that is disproportionately conducted by those other groups. E.g. if blacks are in power they can target whites by making large landholdings illegal, or by focussing on certain white-collar crimes. If whites are in power they can target blacks by making black drugs of choice (marihuana) illegal whilst protecting white drugs of choice (alcohol and tobacco).

    Anyway, back on topic. Seems to me that this is actually anti "big brother" and more "tyranny of the majority."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, 2006 @09:49AM (#15329307)
    they're probably vampires.
  • 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...
  • 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 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.
  • Just being an asshole isn't in and of itself illegal. People's ability to do legal things - even when those things are distasteful to most - should be protected.

    This makes me think of this concept for a reality show: Pick a law-abiding person completely at random, then follow them around with cameras all the time, without asking their permission. I wonder if that person would get pissed or not.

    That's basically what this camera show is, except that the cameras are fixed. All you have to do to fill in the gap is add more cameras.
  • Re:Prevent crime? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MutantHamster ( 816782 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @11:15AM (#15329558) Homepage
    "Anyway, once people are accustomed to being watched while "out", it's only a matter of time before they start watching people while they are "in". "

    No, they won't. There is no "slippery slope" argument to make here because it's just ridiculous to consider putting cameras in the street the same as putting cameras in someone's private property against their will.

    One thing people like you fail to consider is that extending my right to privacy to areas where I'm really not in private has adverse effects on other people's liberties. If you are walking down the street absolutely minding your own business I have every right to photograph you because -- get this -- you do not own the street. You are not on your own private property and you should have no expectation of "privacy" when you're in a public area.

  • by nEoN nOoDlE ( 27594 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @12:08PM (#15329714) Homepage
    Good point. The only people that would be interested in watching this for hours, are the people that you don't want watching in the first place - which is to say old ladies who have nothing better to do than spy on their neighbors and call the cops, and stalkers
  • Re:Prevent crime? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @12:51PM (#15329854)
    I think you're all confused on the subject of privacy. The issue is not just whether you're monitored in real-time (that's bad enough) but that you are being recorded for all time! Worse, you're being watched by people with the power to have you arrested if they so choose. Perhaps you have faith in your government and truly believe that this power will only be used for the common good and that any mistakes that are made will be minor and easily rectified. Frankly, I'm not so trusting, and the more power my government arrogates to itself the less trusting I become.

    There's a qualitative difference between being in public and having others casually observe your activities, and having video of you watched by a police officer dozens or hundreds of miles away and archived for some indefinite period. If you honestly believe that that information cannot be used against you at some later date you're simply fooling yourself.

    Hell, I live in the U.S., and records from our tollway automated billing system have already been subpoenaed for numerous stupid reasons, even divorce cases ("well, if you were at work Mr. Smith why does the tollway's billing system say you were nowhere near your place of employment?") This is getting out of hand, and you can apologize for your (or my) government's intrusive behavior all you want, but the truth is that everyone will, sometime, somewhere, do something he'd rather other people didn't see. In your shiny new world, all of our imperfections would be recorded for posterity the instant they occur, and come back to bite us in the ass when we least expect it.

    Automated surveillance is bad, any way you cut it, for law-abiding citizens, because it can very quickly turn into automated justice.

    No thanks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, 2006 @01:15PM (#15329971)
    Wow, nicely taken out of context there! Look at the grandparent post - the problem is with CCTV not being a deterrent for people starting fights. Yes, the crime - the one part you agreed with. No one has a problem with the rest of it.

    What is it about American people taking things out of context to make themselves look less uptight? ;-) - notice the emoticon!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, 2006 @01:18PM (#15329988)
    It's hard to laugh off behaviour that often results in innocent people being critically injured, paralysed, killed or comatosed just because they happened to walk past a group of "boys being boys".
  • 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?
  • Re:Explained (Score:3, Insightful)

    by loqi ( 754476 ) on Sunday May 14, 2006 @02:17PM (#15330247)
    Brin's argument is being somewhat misrepresented. His point is that surveillance is virtually guaranteed to become ubiquitous for many reasons, from a technological standpoint as much as anything else. If we try and insist on a level of privacy that is utterly impractical, we'll lose both privacy and liberty (it's like Ben Franklin's safety and liberty quote, but s/safety/privacy/).
  • by Smarty2120 ( 776415 ) * on Sunday May 14, 2006 @04:11PM (#15330663)
    Hogwash. A favorite trick in totalitarian regimes is giving citizens the means and incentive to snitch on their neighbors. Using citizens as all-seeing agents of the government is cheaper and more effective than hiring actual government agents to do the job. And, if you can't trust your neighbors not to turn you in, you're less likely to collaborate against the government.
  • 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.

  • Re:Eh? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, 2006 @07:05PM (#15331332)
    "Do you want to ban people taking photograps on the street because they might catch you picking your nose?"

    I don't pick my nose in public.

    To me, the invasion is overwhelming public impression, aka harrassment. If you think this is restrained to only crimes, it isn't. It's perception as well.

    If I walk with a friend of another race, or of the same sex, I don't want amateur TV viewing idiots to then be texting themselves over the stream about how gay I might look or how I'm a *-lover, even if it's a passing "joke," while some drunk bastard or typical hater watching the tube whose a rascist or homophobe then gets it in his mind to go bashing and knows my location or where I now live.

    If I were a criminal, it would be a great tool to figure out who leaves where and when and how many people are with them, and then figure where they exit the surveillance area for the crime.
  • by LupusCanis ( 939826 ) on Monday May 15, 2006 @02:26AM (#15332796)
    The CCTV isn't that bad, it certainly makes people less keen to fight and drink in public. In fact, CCTV I'm cool with, so long as it's not in people's homes, or people's businesses or anything like that, just for in public. And really, this isn't Big Brother at all, in 1984 the cameras were EVERYWHERE, the Party was watching all the time, sleep, eat, whatever. Here the public are watching because the police don't have the time to watch all the CCTV video, all recorded in a public place. Big difference.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly