Tag Archives | CCTV

NYPD Teams With Microsoft To Launch Panoptic ‘Domestic Awareness System’

Is the NYPD and Microsoft together too much of a good thing? Russia Today on the forthcoming new model of urban centralized surveillance:

The NYPD is teaming up with Microsoft to track action across the city. Later this week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to come forth with more details about a new surveillance project the head of the NYPD hinted at last week. In conjunction with engineers at Microsoft, the NYPD will unleash an advanced “domestic awareness system” that will combine its already extensive city-wide surveillance system with law enforcement’s established databases in order to track the moves of suspected terrorists.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly first commented on the program over the weekend at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, but those close to the project have failed to extrapolate much further other than on the basics.

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The Birth Of Surveillance Video Filmmaking

A trailer for the 2007 film Faceless, which includes Tilda Swinton in its cast and is comprised only of CCTV camera footage. The United Kingdom's Data Protection Act allows people to access stored information on themselves, including surveillance video. Director and star Manu Luksch has explained that as a filmmaker, she realized it was pointless to bring her own camera since she and the other actors were already being filmed all of the time:
FACELESS was produced under the rules of the ‘Manifesto for CCTV Filmmakers’. The manifesto states, amongst other things, that additional cameras are not permitted at filming locations, as the omnipresent existing video surveillance (CCTV) is already in operation.
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Taxi Surveillance Cameras and The Continuing Decay of Privacy

Travis BickleWhere to mate? 1984 please.

“You lookin’ at me?” —Travis Bickle (performed by Robert De Niro), Taxi Driver (1976)

The use of surveillance cameras in taxis that record both sound and images hit the headlines last week, when it emerged that the City Council of the historic English city of Oxford was making them compulsory for all local private hire vehicles [1]. Many commentators were shocked by the depths to which the surveillance society had now stooped but few spotted that this phenomenon has been around for over a decade, and not just in the UK.

CCTV in taxis is a worldwide development. The globalised surveillance industrial complex offers one-solution-fits-all products regardless of regional differences or actual need. Wherever taxi cameras have been introduced the measure has courted controversy and time and time again privacy laws around the world have seemingly been unable to restrain this addition to the surveillance panoply.… Read the rest

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This Vehicle Registration Plate Surveillance System Is a Warning to Us All

Knight RiderNo CCTV has teamed up with Privacy International and Big Brother Watch to challenge the legality of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) [also known as ALPR in North America] camera network in the UK. A complaint has been sent to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) against a so-called ANPR “Ring of Steel” that is being constructed around the town of Royston in Hertfordshire — but for Royston read any town in the UK.

Background

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has constructed a network of cameras across the country without any public or parliamentary debate. These cameras record the number plate of each and every vehicle that passes, sometimes taking a photograph of the car and its occupants. The number plate is then compared to a “hotlist” of vehicles of interest, and whether or not the plate is on that list (ie a “hit”), all information gathered is stored for between two and five years.… Read the rest

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Back to the Future: UK CCTV Debate Stuck in Time Loop

BOTFImagine if you had a time machine and you could travel back to the UK in the 1990s. Back then there was a banking crisis [1], a Conservative government and CCTV cameras were being put up all over the UK. So what’s changed over the last 20 years?

With regards to political debate and public awareness of the issues surrounding surveillance cameras it seems very little. Come with us now on a journey of discovery as we leap backwards and forwards in time to present the Then and the Now of CCTV in the UK.

A Code of Practice for CCTV: NOW

One of the “new” ideas touted by the government in 2011 is a Code of Practice for surveillance cameras. On 27th June a Written Answer from the Home Office was published in response to a question about the government’s policy on CCTV [2]:

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her policy is on the use of CCTV cameras.

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The Freedom Committee, CCTV / ANPR and the Manufacture of Consent

Minister demonstrates high trouser look to Coaker.

Minister demonstrates high trouser look to Coaker.

The UK is generally acknowledged to be the world leader in camera surveillance. People from around the world often ask how this has come about. Currently making its way through the UK parliament is a piece of legislation called The Protection of Freedoms Bill – sounds good until you read it, not least when it comes to its take on CCTV. The Committee tasked to oversee and scrutinise the Bill demonstrates how an uninformed public can be hoodwinked into accepting the ever expanding surveillance state around them.

On Tuesday 26th April the Protection of Freedoms Bill continued its passage through the House of Commons when a committee of MPs discussed the surveillance cameras portion of the Bill [1]. Back in March No CCTV created a list of dodgy phrases to look out for at the 2nd Reading of the Bill, which could be used to play our 2nd Reading BINGO game [2].… Read the rest

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Coming To Britain: Unmanned Spy Drones And Facial Recognition Cameras

The Telegraph reports:

Unmanned spy drones, CCTV that recognises faces and cameras in the back of taxis could soon be the norm on the streets of Britain, the Home Office admitted yesterday.

Ministers signalled that advances in technology meant there was nothing to stop such controversial surveillance measures becoming commonplace.

Thales Watchkeeper WK450 UAV

Britain's Thales Watchkeeper WK450 spy drone

The warning came in proposals for a code of practice to better regulate the spread of CCTV amid fears there will be “unchecked proliferation” without it.

Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, said last year that Britain is heading towards becoming a surveillance state of unmanned spy drones, GPS tracking of employees and profiling through social networking sites.

He said the relentless march of surveillance had seen snooping techniques “intensify and expand” at such a pace that regulators were struggling to keep up.

The Coalition Government has pledged to row back the surveillance state and restore civil liberties.

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A Sensor System To Reveal When And How You Are Being Monitored

3279141121_4e76ac28dbA system called the sensor tricorder would allow individuals to scan locations with their smartphones to detect CCTV cameras and microphones, and receive information on how the recorded data was being used. Use would depend on manufacturers’ implementing the technology into their surveillance devices, however. New Scientist reports (in a dismissive-of-privacy-concerns fashion):

A new system designed to reveal when microphones, cameras and other sensors are recording could reassure those who are paranoid about their privacy.

Each device would carry a screen displaying a QR code, a kind of two-dimensional barcode that can be read by a smartphone camera. Every 5 minutes the tricorder system generates a new QR code that encodes a privacy report detailing the sensor’s activities, such as whether it is recording, where the material being stored and how long it will be kept. The report also includes a log of past sensor activity, so you can check whether you have been monitored before.

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Chicago Installs ‘Virtual Shield’ Of 10,000 Surveillance Cameras

CCTV camera

From AFP via Discovery News:

A vast network of high-tech surveillance cameras that allows Chicago police to zoom in on a crime in progress and track suspects across the city is raising privacy concerns.

Chicago’s path to becoming the most-watched U.S. city began in 2003 when police began installing cameras with flashing blue lights at high-crime intersections.

The city has now linked more than 10,000 public and privately owned surveillance cameras in a system dubbed Operation Virtual Shield, according to a report published Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

At least 1,250 of them are powerful enough to zoom in and read the text of a book.

The sophisticated system is also capable of automatically tracking people and vehicles out of the range of one camera and into another and searching for images of interest like an unattended package or a particular license plate.

“Given Chicago’s history of unlawful political surveillance, including the notorious ‘Red Squad,’ it is critical that appropriate controls be put in place to rein in these powerful and pervasive surveillance cameras now available to law enforcement throughout the City,” said Harvey Grossman, legal director of the ACLU of Illinois.

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BrumiLeaks, CCTV and the Attempted Murder of Democracy

Birmingham

Brummie: a native of the British city of Birmingham.
— Oxford English Dictionary

Whilst the WikiLeaks founder was languishing in a prison cell in London, a storm was brewing in England’s second largest city Birmingham, where leaked emails reveal the lengths that advocates of surveillance cameras will go to further their agenda. The BrumiLeaks may appear less controversial than the WikiLeaks that have dominated mainstream headlines in recent weeks, but they do more to lift the lid on just how the surveillance state continues its steady creep forward and why eternal vigilance is required by freedom loving citizens. A perfect example of what is happening the world over – for Birmingham read a town near you.

The Birmingham story so far …

Last month Birmingham City Council was named and shamed as the UK local authority that had spent the most on surveillance cameras between 2007 and 2010 [1]. The council and police in Birmingham also found themselves embroiled in a public relations disaster after they failed to properly consult residents about the installation of hundreds of CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras in leafy Birmingham suburbs – part of a project named ‘Project Champion’.… Read the rest

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