Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

CCTVs Don't Work in the UK

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the your-rights-offline dept.

Privacy 571

ShakaUVM writes "People who give up a little bit of liberty for a little bit of security deserve neither, the saying goes. But what happens when people give up so much liberty their entire country resembles an Orweillean dystopia — but the pervasive monitoring doesn't help to solve any crimes? That's what is happening in the United Kingdom today. While the Guardian tries to put a good spin on the entire fiasco, the fact remains that CCTVs only help with 3% of all street robberies, the very crimes they were supposed to be best at protecting. Should England finally move to eliminate its troubling state surveillance program?"

cancel ×

571 comments

At the risk of being arrested... (5, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325064)

Should England finally move to eliminate its troubling state surveillance program?"
At the risk of being arrested for treason, I say "yes, they should."

Re:At the risk of being arrested... (5, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325160)

More to the point, other countries (like mine) should look to England's failed example and refuse to follow it.

Re:At the risk of being arrested... (5, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325516)

More to the point, other countries (like mine) should look to England's failed example and refuse to follow it.
That's the precise reason I actually liked the UK to install the system. I know, I'm a selfish bastard, but it did work as many people outside the UK expected.

It's the same reason to be happy about RIAA strategy. They fail so badly their tactics will be much harder to use anywhere else.

Re:At the risk of being arrested... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325554)

It's like the end of the movie "Breast Men"(about a pair of doctors who started the breast implant frenzy), when(after the implants are attributed to health problems) the patients all say something like, "...so, you charged me to have them put in...and now you're going to charge me again for removing them?!...okay, when can you do it?"

Though that's optimistic, as it implies that the cameras will be removed in the end :)

Re:At the risk of being arrested... (0, Troll)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325642)

If you're talking about the US, unfortunately, our politicians are incapable of learning from others. Sorry.

What failure? (1)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325766)

Political opposition can be tracked easily - cctv is a success and that's why cities in the US are installing traffic cameras as fast as the feds can pay for it.

Re:At the risk of being arrested... (5, Insightful)

sorak (246725) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325810)

More to the point, other countries (like mine) should look to England's failed example and refuse to follow it.
Nah. They'll look to England's failed example and say "ours will work because we're gonna privatize it"

But they DO work in Philadelphia (4, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325670)

If it weren't for the cameras, the pigs would've denied everything [yahoo.com] .

The debate, once again, should not be around a particular method of law-enforcement, but whether 100% effective law-enforcement is desirable...

It means, you can not exceed speed-limit by 1 mile/h, nor drop a candy-wrap on the street, nor ask for money on subway. You will also not be beaten by a cop, nor will they be able to treat fire-hydrants as special parking spots reserved for "the force". Etcaetera...

Do we want the laws obeyed and enforced 100%, or do we want to live some "wriggle-room" for the dystopian future, when it will be needed to fight some kind of oppression?

Re:But they DO work in Philadelphia (4, Insightful)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325826)

If it weren't for the cameras, the pigs would've denied everything.

Let me quote the article:

The video, shot by a WTXF-TV helicopter, shows three police cars stopping a car on the side of a road.

So are you suggesting we use news choppers for surveillance? That article has NOTHING to do with CCTV.

Exagerate much? (2, Insightful)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325072)

Orwellian dystopia? I spend a few months over there earlier this year and must have missed that bit...

This is YRO (-1, Troll)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325208)

The rights of the people to play a pirated copy of GTA while carrying a full auto AK-47 and then be tried by a jury of undersocialized teenage hackers while shouting "Fuck the RIAA!" at the judge shall not be infringed.

Re:Exagerate much? (3, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325224)

Orwell was an optimist.

Re:Exagerate much? (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325226)

Orwellian dystopia? I spend a few months over there earlier this year and must have missed that bit...

Wasn't a major point of 1984 [amazon.com] that only a tiny amount of unusually sensitive people would recognize a totalitarian state for what it is? There was no hope in the proles in Orwell's future England because their lives were just as miserable before as after and they didn't have time to ruminate on things like Winston Smith and Julia. When Smith tried to ask an old man about former days, he couldn't seem to make any argument against the current state of things. Thanks to Smith's own work in the Ministry of Truth, the population couldn't actually read about how bad things really were.

In this instance, I agree England is not yet an Orwellian dystopia. However, dystopias have a way of establishing themselves without many noticing.

Re:Exagerate much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325326)

> In this instance, I agree England is not yet an Orwellian dystopia. However, dystopias have a way of establishing themselves without many noticing.

Any you have in mind? Historical examples?

Re:Exagerate much? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325624)

People can quibble and obfuscate about the definitions easily enough to reject any example.
I'll advance the USSR and North Korea as two examples.
China seems to be playing the spooky card WRT the Olympics.
While objections may abound, the realities of these states seem at odds with their stated wonderfullness.
The lovely statement "People who give up a little bit of liberty for a little bit of security deserve neither" gets used frequently as a slam on the Bush Administration for the Transportation Safety Administration, among other things.
It also seems to apropos for the various entitlement programs that none of the Presidential candidates have the fortitude to discuss from a long-term sustainability standpoint.

Re:Exagerate much? (4, Insightful)

niko9 (315647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325280)

Orwellian dystopia? I spend a few months over there earlier this year and must have missed that bit...
A little at a time my friend. Just a little at a time...

Re:Exagerate much? (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325348)

I don't know, do you exaggerate much?

The headline said "resembling an Orwellian dystopia". A city with government owned and monitored cameras at every corner does in fact resemble an Orwellian dystopia. Sounds like a perfectly sound comparison to me.

Perhaps if you didn't inflate "resembles" to mean "is", you would have understood.

Re:Exagerate much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325430)

I guess in his mind it'll only be a Orwellian dystopia when the gov requires surveillance equipment in the home.

Re:Exagerate much? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325356)

That's because you're probably from China or the US and you're used to that kind of treatment. [/sarcasm]

Okay, so it's not that bad, but that's because, unlike Winston, you don't actually see Big Brother's eyes tracking you.

Not at all. Re:Exagerate much? (1, Insightful)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325446)

Orwell's dystopia was hardest on office workers. Of course everyone suffered grinding poverty, ignorance, cruelty and lack of freedom but only the more educated members of the state knew better. Anyone from the working class that did notice would be drafted into the continuous and intentionally wasteful war of the day. Office workers lived under a constant purge. The nastiest part about a real dystopia is that people believe with all of their might, effort and 2 minutes hate that nothing could be better. "Ordinary" life goes on for the vast majority.

Things are not that bad yet but the apparatus is incomplete. Journalist and bloggers are harassed for their opinions today. With just a little less freedom, as in Russia, they will be murdered. The US NeoCons are building red light cameras in the US and praying for another false flag operation like 9/11. They already have ChoicePoint and other databases to track opposition but they don't quite have public support for it or more. Free flowing information on the internet has prevented that, so look for broadcast media to become more insane and more to be done to kill the internet.

Re:Exagerate much? (1)

PhilipPeake (711883) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325684)

Then you were walking around with your eyes closed. I grew up in England, but the England I knew is no more. Now when I visit there I am so aware of the changes, the CCTV towers across the countryside peering over trees and hedgerows like war of the worlds Martian invaders, more yellow paint than road surface showing, photo radar every 1/4 mile and speed bumps on main roads.

Re:Exagerate much? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325698)

Aside from living out in the middle of no where there is a good change that you're being filmed nearly the whole time you're outside of your house.

I'm sorry you didn't notice that on your holiday but that is how it is and I'm not sure how you would classify that as anything else or the fact any interaction with the police can lead to your DNA being logged into a database.

I think... (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325076)

That all those cameras you see are mostly funny. They can't actually do anything when they see it and anybody committing a crime knows that and also knows that a camera is easily fooled.

Re:I think... (3, Funny)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325132)

I completely agree. If Matt Damon can outmaneuver them how difficult can it be?

Re:I think... (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325264)

The thing with our company's CCTV system is that the pictures it records to the HDD are so low res that you can't even make out people's faces. The video feed itself isn't too bad, but what's the use when the evidence is that poor? I'm not sure what official police CCTV records are like of course, hopefully they allow for more "the suspect was wearing a stripey jumper and a hat"

Re:I think... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325774)

Low grade recorders do that. Decent stuff available today record at 720X480 (the new HD stuff is even better) and when you use a decent camera (no not that $129.00 cheap junk, you have to spend $250-400 per camera for decent image quality) you can easily get a face out of the video footage that is identifiable plus recorded at 120FPS so you get even more detail.

Problem is most businesses royally half ass their security cameras or install them only to watch the employees. if you have 8 cameras you really need 16 or more.

Remember it's cheaper to use the crappy junk and not install what is really needed. That is what most businesses install.

Re:I think... (5, Insightful)

loteck (533317) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325798)

You seem to be operating under the notion that companies install CCTV systems to protect victims of crimes that occur on company property.

This, however, is business and not altruism. Businesses need CCTV to protect themselves from prosecution and to ease the insurance claims process. For example, they need to know that some guy in a hoodie ran up to that old lady, threw her on to the ground and ran off, not that she slipped on the wet surface left by an employee. They definitely care about that. The identity of the attacker? Not so much. So the expenses surrounding the recording and storage of high-resolution images is simply overkill for the company's needs.

Re:I think... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325574)

One of the companies I used to work for, had a corporate car park that was on a ancient right-of-way. Locals used it as a shortcut between the supermarket and a public park. In between, they would see cars as grab-all-you-can-carry sales bins, and take anything they took a fancy too.

The company did have security cameras, but all they could see was a 40x10 pixel sized human figure. All it took was some fog, and the they were useless.

The only reason the UK installed CCTV cameras in the first place was to catch IRA bombers planting bombs. Rubbish bins were removed from railway stations for that very reason.

Re:I think... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325652)

So arm the cameras with a rifle. that way the officer watching that camera can aim at and kill the suspect. If you start killing people at random, the number of civil infractions by the populace will drop dramatically within a few weeks.

It's all for the good of the people you know!

In a word, (2, Insightful)

jockeys (753885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325086)

Yes.

I mean, is there really any doubt in anyone's mind? Continually infringing upon the privacy of the innocent does nothing to prevent the crimes of the guilty.

Re:In a word, (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325294)

I didn't realise that I was entitled to so much privacy when I'm out in public!!

Re:In a word, (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325498)

The moderators are wearing their tinfoil hats today..

Re:In a word, (1, Informative)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325606)

Your tax money should not be spent tracking political opposition with cameras. You might not be someone like that but you benefit from their work in the same you benefit from newspapers but have no intention of exercising your free speech.

Re:In a word, (0)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325302)

So you expect privacy in public? Why do we have the word "public" then? What's to stop each camera being replaced by a cop - would that be worrying, too?

They work perfectly. (1)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325102)

The purpose it so be able to track political opposition. "Terrorism" and then crime were excuses.

Re:They work perfectly. (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325340)

political opposition IS "Terrorism" and crime.

Re:They work perfectly. (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325888)

Politics IS "Terrorism" and crime.

But you were close.

Re:They work perfectly. (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325758)

Cameras don't track political opposition. People would, if it were done at all. The Soviet Union did it without CCTVs, as did Saddam's Iraq. Cameras by themselves are useless since they don't actually "track" anything. They just record events in front of them. If a murder later happened, the tapes can be pulled and reviewed. But if you were the political incumbent and wanted to "track" political opposition, CCTVs would probably be the last thing you'd use.

If you know of a specific mechanism by which CCTVs are used to do this, please post it. Otherwise, this is just another wild conspiracy theory.

Re:They work perfectly. (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325796)

Nope that's what the FIT team does, the CCTV is watched by the nice police.

Anyone still thinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325106)

CCTV was deployed to prevent street crime ?
I'd rather thought about thoughtcrime.

Get some boots on the ground. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325108)

Better than only using cameras.

Re:Get some boots on the ground. (1)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325512)

This seems obvious to me. Could someone explain what the argument for cameras even is?

It's hard enough for a human police officer -- possessing a far greater sensory capacity than these cameras -- to monitor a busy street when he's there in person. What makes us think that a single officer can monitor ten streets with his attention divided among ten cameras? Is there any evidence that this approach is effective?

One thing it seems we can be sure of is that cameras in general do not deter crime by their presence, perhaps because people learn that they are so ineffective.

Uninformed paranoia, for the most part (4, Informative)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325114)

It seems most people think there is this huge government-funded network of cameras watching every move of every person in the UK - this just isn't the case. The vast majority (~80%) of this camera network are the ones in shops, on transport (buses, trains), on ATM's, etc. etc. In other words, they're privately owned and run for the benefit of the business owner, not for the police.

Of the remainder, the vast majority of them are traffic-cameras at junctions, in speed-cameras (yes, these count, for some reason), etc. What's left are the police-owned ones which watch people in high-crime areas or (usually in partnership with the businesses) high-people-traffic areas (eg: Regent St., Oxford St. in London).

I lived in London for ~15 years before moving to CA. I don't feel any less "observed" here than I did in London. I'm on-camera in CA if I get money from an ATM; if I drive across a junction (try looking up once in a while); if I get on the BART; if I get on Caltrain; if I go to a bank;

I really wish people would stop pandering to the tabloid press trying to sell copy. Sure, there are cameras. Everywhere(*). Deal.

Simon

(*)Well, every country I've been to, anyway.

Re:Uninformed paranoia, for the most part (5, Informative)

gowen (141411) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325454)

Well said sir. And, as the article explains -- far more even handedly than slashdot's biased summary -- the reason that CCTV footage doesn't help solve crimes is because no-one ever looks at it.

Yes folks, slashdot's latest evidence that the UK is a surveillance society is a report that states that no-one ever looks at the CCTV footage. But our summarisers have never let the facts get in the way of a good knee jerk.

Re:Uninformed paranoia, for the most part (1, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325668)

As a friend put it, he hopes they put more cameras up because that way it will be even harder to actually get anything done with them.

Re:Uninformed paranoia, for the most part (3, Insightful)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325762)

Perhaps most of the footage never gets seen. That makes sense; there is just too much of it. However, if they get reports of people protesting, or handing out opinionated fliers, they have that footage, and the opportunity to do something about it.

The Real Question (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325124)

CCTVs Don't Work in the UK
I think the real question is, have they ever worked this way anywhere?

Sure, they work on homes or parking lots where the crook can just walk down the block to a non-camera lot but it's not like the crooks in the UK are going to boat over to the next island that doesn't have mass CCTV, is it?

Re:The Real Question (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325378)

Any security measure that you can foil by putting a mask over your face (and perhaps waddling like a penguin so that they can't identify you by your walk.. unless of course they make everyone in the lineup waddle around.. but you can fool them by waddling with a limp) isn't really much of a security measure.

Re:The Real Question (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325514)

No need to waddle like a penguin. Just put a pebble in your shoe. No one will regognize you from a distance.

Re:The Real Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325636)

No need to waddle like a penguin. Just put a pebble in your shoe. No one will recognize you from a distance.
So I was heading down to Ms. Primsington's estate to rob all her valuables and I put a pebble in my shoe--which in Britain was the style at the time ...

Another obvious Answer? (5, Funny)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325128)

Obviously if the CCTV cameras we have today only help prevent 3% of crimes, then we need about 33x more cameras!
All hail our great overseers!

Re:Another obvious Answer? (5, Interesting)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325330)

Actually I was being extremely sarcastic with the above response (Normally I wouldn't bother saying, but you can never be sure with some people around here...).

Anyway, I grew up in Belfast. For those of you who are unaware, we've had a spot of trouble there over the last few decades. It's not as bad these days as it has been, but still to this day there are certain areas you simply don't go near in case something happens.

One of these "flash points" was just down the road from me, it was at a bridge that linked a Protestant estate with a Catholic one. Naturally, people who tried to cross this bridge were usually targeted by those waiting at the other side.

Unfortunately, there wasn't really an alternative route to get from one side to the other, that was less than 90mins in the opposite direction.

Naturally, there was always fighting and/or rioting on this bloody bridge (which went over a motorway - I'm sure you can imagine the potential risks of falling bricks and bottles there) and more than a couple of people got seriously injured on it - some even died.

Then one day they put a CCTV camera there. Actually, they put a big post there for the CCTV camera to be attached to and it IMMEDIATELY stopped nearly all violence on and around this bridge. Even before the camera was attached, it was enough to scare the little shits that started all of this away and now it's relatively safe to walk by there.

That alone is enough for me to have faith in the CCTV systems. They may not help in solving crimes, but they definitely do help PREVENT them, which I think is much more important.

This is just my experience, though, yours may differ.

Re:Another obvious Answer? (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325822)

You are exactly correct about the deterrent factor of CCTV systems. There are plenty of school boards around where I live who have put up empty CCTV casings (without even having a camera inside) and vandalism was reduced dramatically.

What confuses me most about this article is that they published this kind of data at all. By advising the populace that the police can't use camera data most of the time will reduce the hell out of that deterrent effect.

I still would prefer a society that doesn't require such methods. Whether you're from a benevolent bent or an evil-empire bent publicizing this story makes no sense whatsoever.

Re:Another obvious Answer? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325570)

The 3% refers to solved crimes.

The amount of crimes prevented is unknown.

I have no problem with CCTVs (4, Funny)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325138)

In fact, the thought that they could help if I were to be in a tight-spot is actually reassuring. People think twice about doing stupid things if they know there's an eye in the sky watching them.

I have however had one objection; I caught one blatantly checking me and one ex-girlfriend "making out" (let's say) in a park once. The dirty bastard on the end even nodded the camera at me in recognition I'd caught him watching it all.

Re:I have no problem with CCTVs (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325358)

You're legally allowed to find out who owns the camera and request a copy of the footage under the data protection act. If the footage looks exactly like you say it did - just a couple making out, and not a possible rape or something - then you can take it up with the owner.

Re:I have no problem with CCTVs (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325448)

In fact, the thought that they could help if I were to be in a tight-spot is actually reassuring. People think twice about doing stupid things if they know there's an eye in the sky watching them.

But, that doesn't seem to be the case. People aren't concerned about it:

It's been an utter fiasco: only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV. There's no fear of CCTV. Why don't people fear it? [They think] the cameras are not working."

More training was needed for officers, he said. Often they do not want to find CCTV images "because it's hard work".

That doesn't sound like people are worried about the eye in the sky at all. It sounds like they're ignoring it, and the police are finding the system too damned awkward to actually retrieve the useful images.

I have however had one objection; I caught one blatantly checking me and one ex-girlfriend "making out" (let's say) in a park once. The dirty bastard on the end even nodded the camera at me in recognition I'd caught him watching it all.

First off, kudos for the public shag.

But, how can you on the one hand say you don't mind the eye in the sky, and on the other hand be somewhat surprised that the bored operator wouldn't zoom in on that if he saw you doing something naughty in a park? If you know they're watching, why would you be surprised they actually did watch?

I mean, it's not like the police are swamping the operators with requests for the images. In all likelihood, he and a bunch of guys pass around copies of all the public nookie they observe. I'm sure there's a whole underground trade in CCTV porn -- from what I hear, there should be a lot of material in the UK. :-P

Cheers

Re:I have no problem with CCTVs (2, Interesting)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325552)

Those types of videos have been showing up on the popular surveillance camera TV clip shows. You might want to keep an eye out for that. Would it change your opinion any to know that anything that's videotaped at any time could end up being broadcast on television internationally without your consent?

Re:I have no problem with CCTVs (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325764)

I have however had one objection; I caught one blatantly checking me and one ex-girlfriend "making out" (let's say) in a park once.
I guess you shouldn't have been "making out" in a public place. You had no expectation of privacy, so you have no reason to be upset.

Re:I have no problem with CCTVs (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325768)

Or maybe you shouldn't be doing your "let's say" in a public place to begin with. It's just plain inconsiderate towards other people there.

When a little surveillance doesn't work... (1, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325162)

...just use more. Sort of like code, explosives, alcohol, etc. I doubt they'll dismantle something they spent so much money building, though I think it's a step in the right direction. And coming from someone who works in the intelligence community, I think that's saying a lot.

Re:When a little surveillance doesn't work... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325452)

I think it's a step in the right direction. And coming from someone who works in the intelligence community, I think that's saying a lot.
Err.. not really.. isn't that like someone who sells cameras saying that people should buy cameras?

Re:When a little surveillance doesn't work... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325600)

Except I'm telling you NOT to buy cameras. I think we already have more data than we know what to do with, so accumulating more won't help. If the CCTVs aren't working, try something else. My "just use more" line was what is sometimes called sarcasm, though I forgot to use the html tags. My bad.

Think of the birdies (3, Funny)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325712)

You could gut the cameras and leave the housings in place. Remove the lens glass and viola!--you have nice little bird houses everywhere in the city. Someone get the environmental lobby on this angle, stat!

UK != England (1)

stevedcc (1000313) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325180)

Funnily enough, they have different names because they mean different things. I think the mention of "England" at the end of the article should have matched the title.

Re:UK != England (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325282)

Funnily enough, they have different names because they mean different things. I think the mention of "England" at the end of the article should have matched the title.

England? English?

The correct term is whinging pommy bastard [urbandictionary.com] .

Oh please (4, Insightful)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325202)

People who give up a little bit of liberty for a little bit of security deserve neither, the saying goes.

Don't compare the opression Benjamin Franklin and our other founding fathers lived through with a few cameras in public areas. These monitor the same things that any police officer can without a warrant.

Re:Oh please (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325438)

NO! How can we feel outraged if we don't blow it out of all proportion and forget that public!=private!?!

I agree entirely. Unless these cameras are in your house, then there is no problem. Unless you're the sort of person that screams at folks who accidentally look at them in the street, they're not doing anything bad at all.

Re:Oh please (2, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325466)

Hmmm...so you say every police officer is present 24 hours a day and record digitally in his brain every movement you make, along with an ability to replay it on demand to anyone, BUT unfortunately can't even stop a crime in process???

That's what you mean when you say a CCTV monitors what a cop without a warrant does.

Let's be reasonable here: CCTV was NEVER EVER meant to solve crime. It was meant to keep tabs on people and was sold by companies to government on the premise they could solve crimes.
If you RTFA it says the cops never expected so much information flowing in via cams that they don't have enough officers to keep watching cams and send other cops to all places.
Much like a 911 guy watching monitors all the time.

So, now the next pitch will be to recruit 100,000 cops to monitor the cams, another 200,000 cops to let them loose against the football hooligans, etc.

Re:Oh please (2, Insightful)

Erioll (229536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325630)

People who give up a little bit of liberty for a little bit of security deserve neither, the saying goes.

Don't compare the opression Benjamin Franklin and our other founding fathers lived through with a few cameras in public areas. These monitor the same things that any police officer can without a warrant.
Not to mention that the quote is wrong [wikiquote.org] :

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Those words "essential" and "temporary" are kinda key there, but of course they're always omitted by those who don't like ANY restrictions against being an ass, or believe "it's not wrong if you don't get caught." Quite different than "essential" liberties.

Surveillance isn't really an impediment on freedom (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325210)

Surveillance isn't really an impediment on freedom though, it's just a way to help you get caught when you break the law (mug people and that kinda stuff). Closed borders impedes freedom, but not people recording public areas.

Re:Surveillance isn't really an impediment on free (2, Informative)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325410)

That depends on your definition of freedom.
Americans are really big on the right to privacy, so being recorded as soon as you step outside your house is a huge loss of freedom for us.
Europeans are more used to government control, with mandatory registration of your residence and mandatory IDs.

Re:Surveillance isn't really an impediment on free (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325618)

Europeans are more used to government control, with mandatory registration of your residence and mandatory IDs.
The US has that. Ever tried to move and not update your driver's license???

Re:Surveillance isn't really an impediment on free (2, Interesting)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325878)

But it's not mandatory that you get a driver's license, or voters registration. If you want to live on a farm with no contact to the outer world, you're free to do so. I don't even think you are legally required to have to have a SSN. Not so in most European countries, it's a misdemeanor to not be registered.

Re:Surveillance isn't really an impediment on free (3, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325704)

Americans are really big on the right to privacy, so being recorded as soon as you step outside your house is a huge loss of freedom for us.
As an American, I call bullshit on you. If we Americans thought being recorded was a "huge loss of freedom", then we would not be running around with camcorders and cameraphones posting videos on YouTube and MySpace and everywhere else on the Internet.

No, Americans' big problem with being recorded has nothing to do with liberty and freedom. It has everything to do with being a record of their stupidity, bad behavior, and criminality. And, even then, most people only care about it if it impacts them negatively.

Orwell... (3, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325214)

Ummm lets do that 1984 Checklist

1) Government declares an unwinable war against a changing opponent and people listen - Nope, most brits were against Iraq and almost everyone (even some in government) think it was the wrong target in retrospect.
2) Government demonstrates effective control over people - nope they can't even hold onto CDs
3) Government enforces complete control of society and the media - Nope, they get slated everywhere
4) Abandonment of the rule of law when they choose - nope they can't even get the detention extension they want

Ahh but there are CCTV cameras which catch bugger all information. Maybe the CCTV cameras should go but lets be clear this isn't about liberty and security its purely a cost control mechanism, its a free market decision in otherwords.

Go and read 1984 before talking about dystopia and ask yourself where you can find a country that actively spys on its citizens and where senior people state they are above the rule of law.

Re:Orwell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325830)

Spies on its own citizens?

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/16/AR2005121600021.html

Senior people stating they are above the law?

www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/04/30/bush_challenges_hundreds_of_laws/

--------------------Of course, I could have found links for Canada too..

UK:

www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23590634-5012895,00.html

MI-5's domestic spy program:

www.onpointradio.org/shows/2006/08/20060821_a_main.asp

*laugh* (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325248)

I love this snippet from the article":

He said that there were discussions with biometric companies "on a regular basis" about developing the technology to search digitised databases and match suspects' images with known offenders. "Sometimes when they put their [equipment] in operational practice, it's not as wonderful as they said it would be, " he said. "I suspect [Find] has been put on hold until the technology matures.

I mean, really, say it aint so!! A company sold you something with the promise it could do everything now and it didn't? I'm shocked.

Like so many overly ambitious projects involving technology, it sounds like they've gotten mired in having too many agencies, technology which doesn't work, and front-line people who find the system cumbersome. The fact that police offices find it "too much trouble" to use the system and find images is quite telling.

Sad to hear they've spent so much money and aren't getting return out of it. Somewhat amused to know that the surveillance society isn't working for them. :-P

Cheers

Why just England? (2, Funny)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325274)

Are the cameras in Scotland, Wales, or the other parts of the United Kingdom any better at helping to solve street crime?

Don't work? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325284)

Sorry for being pedantic, it seems to me that the cameras work, they just don't help solve much crime.

Couldn't resist.

The elemental fallacy (3, Insightful)

GrifterCC (673360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325286)

The idea behind CCTVs is deterrence, right? We disincentivize street crime by raising the chances that the criminal will get caught. Except, when has getting caught bothered a criminal? The CCTV system assumes a set of motivations that the average well-off, law-abiding citizen has. But most robbers are not robbing for sport; either they're dirt-poor, or they're addicts. Getting out of heroin withdrawal is such a strong desire that the threat of jail becomes abstract in comparison. So what if the cameras see me?

Re:The elemental fallacy (4, Interesting)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325562)

No, their main use is evidence gathering. Deterrence is secondary. If someone goes bat-shit-crazy and attacks someone, no amount of cameras (or guns or death penalties or dolphins or whatever) will stop that. If, though, a CCTV operator (or witness on the street) sees it, then the cops can pick the person up and charge them. CCTV is just a way to get more evidence. They're also used to covertly follow suspects as they move through a city. I saw CCTV with loud speakers stop a guy who was running from the cops. He kept on running, and the same guy kept on talking to him from all the CCTV cameras he passed - "I can still see you - you can't get away". He didn't. The CCTV operator guided the cops to him, and he was arrested.

3% of what? (5, Insightful)

noa (4909) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325324)

The point put forward in TFA is that the risk of being on camera is a preventive measure. The 3% figure is a meaningless figure when it comes to measuring the preventive effect in my opinion. When measuring efficiency, one would like to know the relative frequency of street robberies before and after a CCTV introduction.

I'm skeptical that the system brings benefits to outweigh the cost, but we should at least argue honestly about the system's alleged efficiency.

Not a dystopia (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325344)

If the cameras don't work, then how much harm could they have possibly done to liberty? The police state Chicken Littles aren't rational and can be ignored.

What articles like this make me think, is "how can I make these cameras work to fight crime better?"

Insecure feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325408)

Being in London feels like being in a high security prison. Cameras pointing at you all the time.

But this is not the first time your government does what _it_ likes for _your_ best. Right?

The constant pounding from panels telling you you will be persecuted if you do this or that only makes it worse.

Three people approached me to propose drugs within 5mn so the system is obviously not working. (If they were not cops that is)

The strange thing is that all this surveillance just make me feel that I'm in a very insecure environment not the opposite!

Re:Insecure feeling (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325610)

You've clearly not been in a high-security prison, then. I think you'll find it's bars, not observation, that makes a prison. Cameras aren't stopping you from going anywhere or doing anything.

They will, though, make it much easier for the cops to prosecute you should your idea of having fun include putting screwdrivers in grannies' faces...

Orwellian Distopia? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325494)

Please show where this system has been used to oppress the populace.

Please show where this system has been used to violate the rights and liberty of the populace?

When to fear the government (and when not) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325496)

When the government consists of other people who make the decisions -- even if they are elected -- there is tremendous cause for concern, because those people may not act in your interests.

If the government is actually a government of, by, and for the people [metagovernment.org] , then there is no need to fear.

The real reason for the cameras... (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325592)

Everyone knows that the cameras are not in place to catch crime while it is happening (though that made for a good cover story). The fact is that they are looking for a specific blue police box, a man named "The Doctor", and his traveling companion(s).

Wesley Snipes for President - Because YOU fund WAR (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325604)

britney spears crotch cam

people are asleep, blogging about their shiny penis they polish and how well their reflection looks in it

visit my myspace facebook wordpress blogspot page where you may breate in my egotistical exhaust fumes

useless creatures ruled by their government

plants like marijuana still illegal

no chance for change, no matter what color you elect

If you pay taxes, YOU fund the war, your empty words against it don't matter

Wesley Snipes for President 2008

Protests in France (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325644)

I can't find the article, but, I remember reading/hearing about "Protest Vandalism" of speed camera in France. Destroying and/or disabling speed cameras as a form of protest against them.
I wonder if the poor rate is due to English "Protest Vandals" doing the same.

not work just for street crimes? (1)

Punto (100573) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325700)

If they don't work to stop street crimes, do they also not work to spy on regular people? Not that having a camera on you is not creepy enough, but at least know that they're probably not doing a good job in spying on you and controlling your mind either!

CCTV helped end the English Disease (5, Insightful)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325726)

The introduction on CCTV (as well as new stadium improvements and regulations recommended in the Taylor Report) are credited with ending mainstream hooliganism in England. CCTV was used to find those responsible for acts of unruly and destructive behaviour associated with football matches and punish them. For me this is enough reason to support CCTV.

But then again I don't really have a problem with being filmed while in public ... after all it is in public.

Heathrow (5, Interesting)

prakslash (681585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325736)

So, I was in London in November.

At Heathrow, my laptop needed re-charging. So, I found a power socket, and sat down and started inserting my power converter/adapter into it. The thing looks like an ordinary wall-mounted brick adapter.

Within 5 minutes, I was surrounded by three guys in uniform asking me what I was doing.
I said I am just trying to charge my laptop.

They looked at the adapter, then at the laptop, then at my face. They just stood there looking confused not saying anything. I picked up my stuff, said thanks and just walked away. They didnt follow me or anything.

Weird.

Having surveillance is fine but having smarter people who know how to analyze what they see is even more important.

the police say "it's too hard" (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23325754)

One of the reasons the system doesn't work, according to the chief who made the original statement is that "the officers don't like looking at CCTV footage because it's too hard".

Now pardon me, but sitting in chair, watching TV - and it's too hard?

That could go along way towards explaining why the crime clear-up rate is so low that most people don't even bother reporting crimes, since they know no-one will turn up.

Of course, not having people reporting crimes helps the govt. statistics: "look the crime rate is going down", so in that way it's all having the desired effect.

Quite so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325782)

their entire country resembles an Orweillean [sic] dystopia
Quite so! You obviously know my country intimately. There's no free press, and there is a corps of civil servants that constantly changes what's in the old newspapers. Secret police terrorize the public; people are tortured in Room 101; and there's an Anti-Sex League.

I don't care for CCTV. But I care for ignorant, arrogant, loudmouthed foreigners who run my country down without knowing a thing about it even less.

Dear Proles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325794)

Resistance is futile. You will be enslaved. Any resistence will be noted (anonymous? how sure are you?) and met with corrective action. You have already lost. The remaining veneer of freedom will be allowed to exist for as long as it is expedient.

Yours Truly.

Your Faceless Masters

Where to begin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325816)

People who give up a little bit of liberty for a little bit of security deserve neither, the saying goes.

Yes, and it's a silly saying that is very over-used. The simple fact is that we make this trade every day of our lives. We don't have the liberty of attacking whoever we please, we've outlawed it. In return, we get a bit of security from others who would attack us. Does that mean we don't deserve either? Of course not.

But what happens when people give up so much liberty their entire country resembles an Orweillean dystopia -- but the pervasive monitoring doesn't help to solve any crimes? That's what is happening in the United Kingdom today.

Wrong on both counts. Firstly, the point about the surveillance in Nineteen Eighty-Four was the eradication of privacy. The UK doesn't even remotely resemble that. Want privacy? Go home. Unlike Nineteen Eighty-Four, you aren't legally obliged to have any telescreens monitoring you in there. You have no right to privacy in a public place. And look - you can converse to your heart's content in private places about all kinds of subversive things without the government listening in.

While the Guardian tries to put a good spin on the entire fiasco, the fact remains that CCTVs only help with 3% of all street robberies, the very crimes they were supposed to be best at protecting.

And that lays your other claim to rest - it does actually help to solve some crimes. There's a debate to be had about cost-effectiveness, but it's certainly not the blanket failure you claimed.

Should England finally move to eliminate its troubling state surveillance program?"

England != UK. Confusing England with the UK is like confusing California with the USA. It's a basic mistake that shows complete unfamiliarity with the country.

CCTV and violence prevention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325844)

With the prevailance of drunken violence in most UK city centres in the late evening, CCTV cameras are at least a reassuring thing to wave at when a drunken yob starts an unprovoked attack. It's rare that a passer by would intervene. As to other uses, I'm undecided.

This FP fo]r GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23325852)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...