Tag Archives | CCTV

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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What Is The True Cost Of CCTV?

The release of Big Brother Watch’s latest report, ‘The Price is Wrong – The cost of CCTV surveillance in the United Kingdom’ [1] reiterates that CCTV cameras are a massive waste of money. The report shows that local authorities in the UK spent nearly £315 million of taxpayers money on CCTV in just the last three years. Top of the surveillance spending chart is Birmingham Council who managed to pour £10,476,874 into spy cameras between 2007 and 2010!

CCTV top spenders 2007-2010 (‘The Price is Wrong’ report, Big Brother Watch)
Rank Council Total Spend
1 Birmingham £10,476,874.00
2 Sandwell £5,355,744.00
3 Leeds £3,839,675.00
4 City of Edinburgh £3,600,560.00
5 Hounslow £3,573,186.45
6 Lambeth £3,431,301.00
7 Manchester £3,347,310.00
8 Enfield £3,141,295.00
9 Barnet £3,119,020.00
10 Barking and Dagenham £3,090,000.00

Birmingham – hey big spender!

Birmingham City Council has been the subject of much CCTV controversy this year as it tried to sneak hundreds of CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras into leafy Birmingham suburbs as part of a project named ‘Project Champion’.… Read the rest

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Internet Eyes Citizen Spy Game – The New Stasi?

Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it…
– Judge Learned Hand, ‘The Spirit of Liberty’ speech (1944)

The launch of Internet Eyes on 4th October (as part of a three month trial) marks another disturbing chapter in Britain’s surveillance society.

Internet EyesIn the autumn of 2009 Internet Eyes Limited hit the headlines when they announced their desire to launch a CCTV game that they were keen to claim was not a game. Private individuals would subscribe to private camera feeds connected to the internet and spy on people going about their business, with a cash prize each month for the person who reports the most infringements. The game is now being launched as part of a three month trial at 12 shops (including Costcutter and Spar franchises) in towns including Reading, Wokingham and Newton Abbott.

The UK’s Information Commissioner has put private profit above personal privacy in allowing a private company to launch its Stasi style citizen spy game rather than defending the rights of British citizens.… Read the rest

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Speed Cameras, ANPR and Project Columbus

Photo: Kaihsu Ta (CC)

Photo: Kaihsu Ta (CC)

– The expansion of automated checkpoints around the UK

Data Protection expert Chris Pounder of Amberhawk Training[1] has warned that moves by UK local authorities to remove speed cameras could lead to an increase in Automatic Number Plate Recognition or ANPR cameras. In a recent blog post ‘Data Protection and surveillance: swapping the speed camera for ANPR?'[2] Pounder suggests that as speed cameras are removed, more accidents could occur so that over time, there will be increased public pressure to do something to counter the rising accident rate, and he says: “ANPR installations (which only need a few cameras) will be the technological fix of choice”. Pounder goes on:

In this way, specific surveillance of an accident black spot by a speed camera (which only captures the image of speeding cars breaking the law) is replaced by general surveillance of all vehicles passing the cameras (where records of date, time, driver details, location are all retained for possibly up to 5 years).

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Ohio Woman Flies Into a Rage Over Lack of McNuggets (Video)

McNugget RageFeed me! Feed me! WTF lady, it's not even real chicken ... The AP via Google News reports:
TOLEDO, Ohio — A security video from a McDonald's in Ohio shows a woman punching two restaurant employees and smashing a drive-thru window because she couldn't get Chicken McNuggets. The tantrum caught on tape in Toledo earlier this year shows the customer reaching through the drive-thru window, slugging one worker and then another. She then grabs a bottle out of her car and tosses it through the glass window before speeding off. It happened early on New Year's Day. Police say Melodi Dushane was angry that McNuggets weren't being served, because it was breakfast time.
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Criminology Student Studied Jack the Ripper, Then Killed Like Him

They caught this guy with CCTV, a “nuisance” the killer’s inspiration didn’t face in the 1880s. John Bingham, Paul Stokes and Gordon Rayner write in the Telegraph:

Jack the Ripper

"A Suspicious Character," London News, October 13, 1888

As he began his shift on Monday morning, the caretaker of the Holmfield Court flats in Bradford settled into his office chair to review the weekend’s CCTV footage. He fast-forwarded the recording, looking out for evidence of vandalism or petty crime.

Instead, he found himself witnessing cold-blooded murder.

In a corridor of the flats, a man chased and grabbed a young woman before knocking her unconscious. The attacker then disappeared from view, only to return moments later with a crossbow which he used to fire a bolt into her head.

The man could then be seen dragging the body out of view, and later going backwards and forwards with bin bags and a rucksack.

The caretaker reached for the phone and dialled 999.

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UK Rolling Back Surveillance And Nanny State Laws

nocctvIronically, just days after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg went to London for tips on how to spy on citizens, the UK, recognized globally as the leading surveillance state, is taking steps to reverse many “nanny state” laws. John F. Burns reports for the New York Times:

Defying those who said it might be paralyzed by internal divisions, Britain’s new coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on Wednesday unveiled the most ambitious plan in decades for upending the highly centralized and often intrusive way the country is governed.

The plan, as laid out by the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, would roll back a proliferation of “nanny state” laws, non-elected administrative bodies and surveillance systems — many of them a product of Labour’s 13 years in power — that critics say have curbed individual freedoms and enlarged state powers to a degree unrivaled by most other democratic societies.

Vowing that the coalition would end “the culture of spying on its citizens,” Mr.

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New York City Studying London’s Surveillance Network

CCTV cameraNYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg was supposed to show up at the CBS Early Show today, where my kid and others from his soccer team were invited to talk about the FIFA World Cup. We wondered why he wasn’t there, and now we know: he was in London learning all about the surveillance capital of the world’s methods of spying on its citizens. Via AP/Yahoo News:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is in London to observe the network of security cameras on the city’s transport system.

Bloomberg was shown around a closed-circuit television facility at Westminster Underground station by London Mayor Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

There are 12,000 cameras on London’s subway system, and city officials tout their role in combating crime and terrorism.

Bloomberg has expressed enthusiasm for London’s network of security cameras, one of the world’s largest.

The surveillance “ring of steel” around London’s central business district was the inspiration for a 3,000-camera system in lower Manhattan.

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Chicago’s Camera Complex

CCTV cameraAaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist::
Chicago is leading the charge into a brave new world of cities under constant surveillance. The Associated Press (via the Tribune) reports that Chicago has the most surveillance cameras in the United States, with more than 10,000 public and private cameras throughout the city. The cameras, on everything from street sweepers to red lights are linked together via Chicago’s 911 system. While exact numbers aren’t available the Trib estimates around 1,500 cameras have been installed by emergency services, 6,500 installed in schools and the rest are scattered throughout various public and private facilities. Michael Chertoff...
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Chicago Police Want Covert Cameras

CCTV cameraFrom Aaron Cynic at Chicagoist::

The familiar blinking blue light cameras that dot many city streets could get smaller soon, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune reported yesterday that the Chicago Police are considering employing smaller, covert cameras in the hope of further combating crime. According to the article, these cameras could be as small as a thimble. Last month, Police Superintendent Jody Weis said in an interview with WLS, “These can be secreted in locations that nobody would ever detect. It’s amazing where we’re going with technology.” While some may marvel at the applications of such cloak and dagger spy technology, the idea of both overt and covert cameras blanketing the city raises some very serious privacy concerns. Spokesperson for the Illinois ACLU Ed Yohnka said “…there’s a heightened sensibility and concern on the part of citizens when you start talking about things like covert cameras.”

Read the full post at Chicagoist

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