Tag Archives | CCTV

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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The Manufacture of “Surveillance by Consent”

“the CCTV proposals in the Protection of Freedoms Bill are really about manufacturing consent”
No CCTV article ‘The Freedom Committee, CCTV / ANPR and the Manufacture of Consent’ (2nd May 2011) [1]

One nation under CCTV
Image by T.J.Blackwell

It’s not often that you get to witness the birth of a new philosophy but that is what we are told is at the heart of the new Surveillance Camera Code of Practice published by the UK’s Home Office this month [2]. Drum roll please, here it is, the new philosophy – “Surveillance by Consent”.

Now as new philosophies go it’s not the best and it’s not really new, nor is it a philosophy. In fact it’s more of a slogan, or more precisely a propaganda slogan. And what it contains a ready-made judgement to save you the trouble of thinking about the issue at hand, in this case surveillance. Surveillance you are told is by consent.… Read the rest

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Camover: A Game to Destroy CCTV Cameras

Picture: Quevaal (CC)

Oliver Stallwood writes at the Guardian:

As a youth in a ski mask marches down a Berlin U-Bahn train, dressed head-to-toe in black, commuters may feel their only protection is the ceiling-mounted CCTV camera nearby. But he is not interested in stealing wallets or iPhones – he is after the camera itself. This is Camover, a new game being played across Berlin, which sees participants trashing cameras in protest against the rise in close-circuit television across Germany.

The game is real-life Grand Theft Auto for those tired of being watched by the authorities in Berlin; points are awarded for the number of cameras destroyed and bonus scores are given for particularly imaginative modes of destruction. Axes, ropes and pitchforks are all encouraged.

The rules of Camover are simple: mobilise a crew and think of a name that starts with “command”, “brigade” or “cell”, followed by the moniker of a historical figure (Van der Lubbe, a Dutch bricklayer convicted of setting fire to the Reichstag in 1933, is one name being used).

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An Urban Surveillance Map Of Vancouver

The Vancouver Public Space Network mapped CCTV locations in the metropolitan core, revealing the geography of surveillance:

The preliminary map that we created indicates the places where surveillance cameras could be found prior to the installation of extra cameras for the Olympics.  We are particularly concerned about the surveillance legacy that the Olympics may leave behind, and will be monitoring the city government to make sure that this network is removed once the party is over. In all, the map represents the locations of 1500 of the 2000 cameras we found.

Public spaces are inherently places in which we can be observed by other people, and where we can observe others. However, the VPSN is concerned about the way that intense video surveillance, particularly networked, centrally monitored systems, might negatively affect the way that people enjoy public spaces. In the United Kingdom, which has intensive public video surveillance, security cameras have been used by security officers to harass people and to profile individuals based on race and socio-economic status.

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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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