Tag Archives | CCTV

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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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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