Doktor Jons Guide to the "Use and Application of CCTV"
This is the "Civil Liberties" Section - CCTV's place in society ...

So would you like to play "Spot the CCTV Camera?". Eagle eyed visitors may recognise the profusion of street furniture, surrounding a single heritage dome camera keeping watch over part  of Londons' prestigious Oxford Street shopping area.
TRUSTED - Target Recognition Using Surveillance Technology for Evidence and Detection - A campaign to improve the effectiveness of existing video surveillance security systems.

- CCTV and Privacy Issues -

Does CCTV have a valid role in a modern society?

In general terms, you can only really effectively regulate those individuals who are prepared to be regulated. If as a criminal you wish to adopt a large number of aliases, who the heck is going to be any the wiser?

If you want to wear a disguise, or have a penchant for cross dressing, does that automatically mean that you must have some degree of criminal intent?

Closed Circuit Television has been systematically introduced throughout the United Kingdom for many years now, but exactly how wide ranging has the debate been about its implications for society in general? Not a lot!

Have there been extensive debates in the Houses of Parliament? .... no; wide ranging consultations by Local Authorities? .... possibly not, detailed discussion and debate on broadcast television and radio? ..... not that you’d notice.; unless of course you include endless TV shows that marvel at the stupidity of mostly drunken individuals 'caught on CCTV cameras'.

In recent months, there have been the first marginal stirrings of discontent about the way in which CCTV has become a key component in monitoring and managing our everyday lives; and yet the politicians and commentators that are only now raising issues over what has become, are generally unaware of what the technology can and will achieve, in relation to an individuals expectations with regard to civil liberties.

So given an uneasy insight into the shape of things to come, does this mean that Doktor Jon is becoming a poacher turned gamekeeper? ... absolutely not.

With so many years experience of observing the effects of adopting CCTV, D.J. has for a long time now been extremely unhappy about the way in which the apparent benefits of using this technology, have been adopted as an electronic sledgehammer to crack a bowl of mixed nuts.

Perhaps we should look at the case for considering the civil liberties issue in a much wider context.

As an example, what about the everyday situation of being ‘tracked’ whilst walking down a street, by a camera operator using an ‘active’ remote control PTZ camera.

Simply because Doktor Jon may bear more than a passing resemblance to Ed ‘the biscuit’ McVitie (apologies to any similarly named criminals); in this situation, I object most strongly to being singled out for special attention, at the expense of overlooking the serial shoplifter last seen walking down the road five metres in front of me.

Does Doktor Jon mind being video recorded walking along whilst being monitored by a ‘passive’ CCTV system? .... absolutely not.

By choosing to take this particular route I'm prepared to willingly ‘donate’ personal data in the form of video recorded images, in order to participate in a scheme which is clearly intended to offer the maximum degree of benefit to all pedestrians.

Does CCTV have a valid role in modern society - Continued >>

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