NO2ID

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Monday, October 23, 2006

'Little' Brother?

It's been described as CCTV for the masses. It's been dubbed by its founder as Little Brother. It's the future of CCTV and it's coming to a community near you soon. And if you live in Spitalfields, East London then it already has.

Shoreditch are a company intent on one thing - reducing crime and fear in communities. Their solution? Community CCTV cameras. Up to 400 (yes, 400) CCTV cameras erected in a single residency. Accessed by everyone and anyone who lives there. (Yes, even the paedophiles) From the comfort of their own front room too. It's a revolution. A saviour. They call it 'fighting crime from your sofa'.

But even the founder has admitted it won't deter crime. What it will do is make the resident's feel safer. So, a bit of false advertising there, (see website) or more accurately, a false sense of security for the residents. Hmm. Not a good start.

Some may feel that this Little Brother is harmless, but one has to remember. Little Brothers do grow up. Is this the world we want our children to grow up in? If you take your child to the park and see a lone man standing by a tree watching them, at least you can remove your child from his gaze. With Little Brother in place, how will you ever know if your child is being watched by unwanted eyes or not?

Despite the obvious breach of privacy the Little Brother's pose, they are undoubtedly open to all sorts of abuse. Snooping, spying, stalking. When I put my concerns to the Shoreditch company they responded with the reassurance that there are 3 safeguards in place to prevent abuse of the cameras.

1. Only public areas are visible on the cameras. (So that would include play parks, shops, community centres, libraries...)
2. There is no pan, tilt, or zoom facility available to subscribers. This means they are unable to focus on an individual. (But the cameras do have a recognition distance in place so individuals can still be indentified...)
3. The views from the cameras are set to rotate from view to view with 30 seconds only for each view. The order of views is also randomised, making it impossible to trace an individual's journey.

Hmm. Interesting point there, number three. My home town has a 'novelty' public CCTV camera in the city square, accessible by anyone via the city council's website. It doesn't have a 'randomised' view and does allows the user unlimited access, allowing you to trace an individual's journey. Oh and it also has the wonderful 'pan, tilt and zoom' facility. If authorities can set it up in the 'public area' of the city square without civil liberties being breached, then there is always the possibility of these controls being added to the community cameras.

Shoreditch went on to reassure me that actually 'the local authority welcomes the scheme because there is a limit to how many people they can employ to look over their cameras. By having a community of eyes on the cameras, it increases their ability to spot and respond to incidents, and in that way contributes to the authority's local crime-fighting capabilities.'

Ah, so it's just a way of getting the public to do the police's job again, not a crime-fighting-from-your-sofa deterent. Oh but wait, crime in the Spitalfields area is actually falling anyway, as quoted by Dan Hodges of the Shoreditch Trust. It's the fear of crime that's rising. Now I see, Little Brother is merely a tool to quash fear in local residents.

Perhaps what they should really be fearing is Little Brother, creeping into a community near you soon.

3 Comments:

Anonymous kate b said...

What???Is this really tru?If they are planning on doing this where I live I would def have something to say about it!

Tue Oct 24, 09:16:00 am 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what if you are a battered wife trying to hide from your ex and he can stalk out your local haunts and find you? Or what if you've pulled a sickie and are caught nipping out to the hairdressers!Or if you have kids, your local pedo can play spot the kid. Fantastic. When will these control freaks learn? Big brother 1984 was fiction, not a blueprint for how to run an effin counrty!!

Wed Oct 25, 08:38:00 pm 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello fellow bloggers,

I recently published an article on how security systems work and which are the most effective for your home – here is a quote from it, in case you are interested:

Talking Security Devices. First these devices have been used mainly for talking, but later on they have been integrated into home security system, along with other facilities like opening the door, turning on the light, and for emergency alert.

Back-up Power Supply. You don’t want to live in a movie, especially not in a classic thriller where the lights and home security system turn off especially when you need them more. To avoid this protect your house with a back-up supply.

Smoke Detectors. They add supplementary security to your home. The important thing is to be integrated into your home security and alarm system. These detectors don’t just detect the smoke but they can also help you to escape from a fire in time, at the same time, they cam notify the fire department. Some smoke detector systems have a power supply integrated.

House or Window Decals and Yard Signs. These are quite harmless signs of a possible existence of home security system in your house; they are posted on visible places, like windows, doors, in the yards etc., to scary, confuse and deter the burglars.

Wireless Systems. They offer all the protection necessary to your home and you get rid of hiding and masking all those cords, wires and extra outlets (you can never use for other purposes). The parts, spread around your home, communicate with the master control panel through radio frequencies – mostly used together with wireless CCTV cameras .

Security Services. These services are furnished by companies, which offer you not only the installation but also the maintenance of the system, the monitoring for cases of emergency to alert the police department, fire department, the ambulance, and relocation services for the cases when you move.

Master Control Panel. It is the central device that collects the information from all the sensors and keypads, and transmits the data to the monitoring companies.

If you feel this helps, please drop by my website for additional information, such as advice on buying a home security camera or resources on home security alarms .

Regards,

Michael

Fri Nov 17, 06:01:00 pm 2006  

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