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 modern society?
- continued -

If the truth be told, Doktor Jon is not that over enamoured at being constantly followed around the shops by second rate store detectives, but that's another story!

The point of course is that as with many aspects of modern life, we have absolutely no say on how or why our personal lives should be adversely influenced in the interests of so many, by the actions of so few.

If asked nicely, most people are more than willing to cooperate in some way for the greater good.

Unfortunately, when it comes to CCTV ...... we simply do not have any options.

The time honoured argument of course, is that if you’ve done nothing wrong, then what’s your problem?.

Doktor Jons problem is, that whilst he personally may have a totally unblemished character record (okay so he's not quite that perfect ..... just almost), the issue of his individual civil liberties has not really been addressed at all.

By initiating systems or procedures that inherently impact on our individual civil liberties, who is to say that the behaviour of a bio terrorist, or indeed a small time drugs dealer, will in any way be influenced by the issues that in consequence will affect the quality of life for us all.

If an individuals rights are to be significantly affected in the ongoing fight against terrorism, so be it; but perhaps it’s not unreasonable to expect a little bit of honesty and transparency to be introduced into the great scheme of things.

In fact, would it be unreasonable to suggest that if extraordinary sums of money continue to be invested in Public Space CCTV, then it should at least be 'fit for purpose'. The problem of course is that almost without exception, large actively monitored open space schemes are naively designed to operate on the basis of lottery surveillance, with generally sporadic observation of the law abiding, and little or no tangible effect on the longterm behaviour of the law defying.

If CCTV is to be widely deployed on the basis of providing enhanced public safety, then surely the public have a reasonable right to expect that the systems will actually make them safer. The problem of course, is that a succession of published research reports tend to suggest, that existing system designs are not having any significant impact on deterring criminal activity; so whilst the public may feel safer, in practice they are not.

Longterm experience tells us that the immediate benefit of crime reduction or displacement that results from the initial installation of any video surveillance system, generally evaporates through habituation, almost as quickly as the feel good factor from those who should have benefitted the most ... so where do we go from here?

CCTV - The case for regulation >>

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