Tag Archives | CCTV

CCTV Looking Out For Them Not You

cctv advocates reading list
Essential reading for all CCTV advocates

How did the United Kingdom, a country that supposedly had such high regard for individual freedom, fall under the spell of an all pervasive surveillance state? To understand how the spell was cast and why it was effective, we need to look back to the 1990s when the CCTV camera gold rush began in earnest.

A key catalyst was the manufacture of consent — the government, assisted by its trusted media, went on a charm offensive to create support for CCTV cameras. Despite the fact that the technology was untested and therefore had no evidence in support of their claims, they promoted cameras as a magical solution to fix all of society’s ills.

Central government funding and the creation of the CCTV myth

In the 1990s, the central government invited local councils to bid for funding in a series of “competitions” called “City Challenge”. Shortly after the announcement of one such funding round in 1994, the Home Office published a guidance document entitled ‘CCTV – Looking out for you’ [1].… Read the rest

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Predictive Policing and the Felony Lane Gang

Predictive policing is on the rise in the US, UK and Europe. The technique now faces one of its toughest challenges: the Felony Lane Gang, writes Chris Baraniuk at New Scientist:

They always choose the line at the bank farthest from CCTV – that’s how the Felony Lane Gang got its name. With crimes committed in 34 states, they’ve withdrawn millions of dollars from banks using cheques and credit cards stolen from cars. A handful of individuals connected to the group have been arrested, but the ringleaders have remained at large for years. Can crime-predicting software finally stop them in their tracks?

Caméras de surveillance sur la voie publique.jpg

Photo: Pierre-alain dorange (CC)

 

That’s the hope of police in the US, who have begun using advanced software to analyse crime data in conjunction with emails, text messages, chat files and CCTV recordings acquired by law enforcement. The system, developed by Wynyard, a firm based in Auckland, New Zealand, could even look at social media in real time in an attempt to predict where the gang might strike next.

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Wearable computing and privacy invasions you might want to think about now

Google Glass © Rijans007/Wikimedia Commons, 2013. Via Flickr.

Google Glass © Rijans007/Wikimedia Commons, 2013. Via Flickr.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Tom Foulsham, University of Essex

Are you being recorded? Thanks to the ubiquity of CCTV and camera phones, the answer is more than ever before likely to be “Yes”. Add to this the growth of wearable technology such as Google Glass and people are increasingly exposed to devices that can monitor and record them, whether they realise it or not.

The privacy implications are obvious, but also interesting to psychologists such as myself, are how such invasions of privacy – real or perceived – change the way people behave in everyday life.

My colleagues and I have been examining the ways people change their behaviour when they are being recorded. In a typical psychology experiment, participants are aware that they are being watched, and a range of equipment monitors their responses, from computers and cameras to eye-trackers and electrodes.… Read the rest

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8th June 2014 – Time For Big Brother to Retire!

On 8th June George Orwell’s surveillance crazed czar of surveillance Big Brother will be 65 years old (in literary years). To mark the date we urge all lovers of freedom to take part in the annual 1984 Action Day and to call for Big Brother to hang up his high visibility surveillance jacket and retire.

Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ was first published on 8th June 1949. Now, sixty-five years later and thirty years after the book’s title year, few if any of Orwell’s warnings have been heeded. The slogans of the book’s ruling party: “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength” are encoded in the marketing style propaganda of modern political parties. A surveillance state has been built all around us whilst we are encouraged to “share” our concerns in a modern reworking of the 2 minute hate – the 140 character tweet fest – hash tag “what about that funny dog!”

We are living in the dystopian world of ‘1984’ now.… Read the rest

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I, Camera – The 5 Laws of FFUCams

FFUCam in action
A FFUCam spreading trust
[ based on image by West Midlands Police ]

Everyone knows that the camera never lies. That’s a definitely true fact. The flip side to this fact is of course the additional fact that people can and do lie – frequently. So when it comes to lying, cameras are clearly more trustworthy, reliable and generally better than people. Everyone has known this since the phrase “the camera never lies” was first discovered in 1857 (the date might be a lie of course, after all I’m only human).

The incredible thing is that despite everyone knowing that the camera never lies and is better than people, this beacon of moral certitude was so massively under utilised.

Let us consider the evidence before us in a forensic and thorough way.

Do cameras commit murder? No.
Are cameras ever drunk and disorderly? No.
Do cameras abuse their position in society?… Read the rest

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Surveillance Spaulder Device Alerts Wearer To Surveillance Cameras

Not surprisingly, a wearable “Surveillance Spaulder” hails from the surveillance capital of the western world: London. James Bridle made the CCTV surveillance detector for Wearable Futures’ Futures 10 exhibition. He explains at his blog:

The spaulder is a traditional component of medieval plate armour, designed to protect the wearer from unexpected and unseen blows from above. The Surveillance Spaulder continues this tradition into the present day – and the electromagnetic spectrum – alerting the wearer to the violence of ubiquitous surveillance.

Surveillance Spaulder from stml on Vimeo.

The spaulder contains a CCTV detector, based on a design by anonymous security researcher Puking Monkey. The detector filters the light it collects through a 730nm bandpass filter to isolate the infrared lighting used in most commonly-deployed CCTV cameras. When it receives a signal, it pulses electric current through a pair of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) pads attached to the wearer’s shoulder, causing them to twitch sharply.

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The Manufacture of “Surveillance by Consent” Part 2 – Is Mass Surveillance So Bad If You Can’t See It?

One nation under CCTV
Image by T.J.Blackwell

In the dark ages known as the twentieth century, mass surveillance of entire populations was a sport practised only by elitist totalitarian states . Those unlucky enough to live in a what was then termed a “free country”, had to sit on the sidelines and simply imagine what it was like to be subject to constant state intrusion.

But times change, and after several wars of the twentieth century (including the war to end all wars) mass surveillance was finally liberated. The liberators of surveillance even adopted a snappy slogan to help spread their evangelic message, which today is more commonly used than that one about washing up liquid – “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”. Don’t bother de-constructing this slogan in any way – just marvel at its symmetry and its almost Shakespearean rhythm.

You see the secret to success of the architects of “surveillance for all” was they spotted that surveillance is so much easier to sell to the masses when it’s invisible.… Read the rest

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Vast Majority Of CCTV Cameras Are Privately Owned

cctv cameraBig Brother may be private and unregulated, Russia Today reports, regarding the United Kingdom:

There are 70 times more privately owned surveillance cameras in the UK than government ones, a new study has revealed. The research found that Britain has a total of 5.9 million cameras and called for better regulation of privately owned devices.

Some 70,000 cameras run by the British police and authorities make “perhaps only 1.2 to 1.7 per cent” of the overall number of CCTV cameras in the UK, the study reads. The research was conducted for the British Security Industry Association.

The study’s conclusions challenge the UK’s popular image as a “Big Brother” state, claiming that such notions are “misplaced.” Instead, its authors believe the lack of regulation governing privately run cameras is a bigger concern for Britain, and have called for establishing rules to enforce “better standards.”

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Landmark CCTV Case in Australia: Government Seeks to Change Law to Resume Surveillance

This sign is under surveillance
Image by lonely radio

Last week (2nd May), in the midst of Privacy Awareness Week [1], an Australian campaigner, Adam Bonner won a landmark decision against CCTV cameras in New South Wales [2]. The decision did not rule that the cameras in the town of Nowra should be switched off, but instead ordered the local council to stop breaching the Information Protection Principles of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act. Remedies were suggested by the Privacy Commissioner but suffice to say Shoalhaven council has switched the cameras off whilst deciding its next move.

The decision of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal New South Wales ordered that:

1. The Council is to refrain from any conduct or action in contravention of an information protection principle or a privacy code of practice;

2. The Council is to render a written apology to the Applicant for the breaches, and advise him of the steps to be taken by the Council to remove the possibility of similar breaches in the future.

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Tip for Julian: Don’t Eat at Popeyes

image courtesy zigazou76

If Julian Assange ever escapes from the Peruvian embassy he may not want – as a fugitive on the run – to eat at Popeyes. And, if he absolutely must have chicken-and-sausage jambalaya, then he better think about paying in cash. Wali Enterprises, a leading Popeyes franchisee, will be rolling out a new video surveillance system – Envysion Insight – to all of their locations.

Already used by dozens of fast food restaurants, Envision Insight allows cash registers to be integrated with video monitoring systems. Now, instead of scanning thousands of hours of CCTV footage, security staff (or the interested police officer) can simply enter a receipt number to call-up a specific section of archived video. And, since receipt numbers are matched to credit and debit cards which match to personal names, it shouldn’t be too hard to get footage of your comings and goings at many retail outlets.… Read the rest

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