Feeds

Cops and Home Office plot uber-CCTV network

Tracking all of the people, all of the time

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The Orwellian panopticon does exist, apparently; but it doesn't work very well - at least, according to the ACPO and Home Office authors. The government analysts even cast doubt on the famous 300-a-day for Londoners figure:

In London, it is estimated that on average, an individual may be recorded by over 300 different cameras in any given day. However, the evidence from police investigations does not suggest such extensive coverage. This may be for a combination of reasons, including: the figures are wrong... We cannot say with any certainty how accurate previous estimates of camera numbers are.

The report also grumbles about cameras getting hijacked by traffic authorities:

Some existing cameras originally installed for detecting crime are now being positioned to monitor a bus lane and record vehicle number plates. Whilst the cameras are being used in this way, it seems unlikely that they will then be used proactively to patrol the area and detect crime.

Here the plods and civil servants seem to fall in with widely-held beliefs that driving in bus lanes is (or should be) perfectly legal.

It also seems that a lot of camera systems are installed by shops, malls etc. not to provide evidence in cases of assault or mugging - nor to allow people's movements to be monitored - but for the purposes of the owners. These might include protecting a firm from frivolous slip-and-fall lawsuits, or preventing employee pilfering. The plods and mandarins say that's all very well, but:

Often there is a public expectation that these systems are being installed for their safety, but the CCTV may not be of sufficient quality for police to use in criminal investigations.

Indeed, the government authors, in their desire to push the case for nationally-set high-res CCTV standards and central control, seek to assert that most current records are of no use for law-enforcement.

"Anecdotal evidence suggests," they say - very authoritative - "over 80 per cent of the CCTV footage supplied to the police is [Rubbish? Dross? Useless?] far from ideal..."

A meaningless twice-qualified statement, effectively saying "a man in the pub told me it's all crap". Even so, two national broadsheets used it as the basis for their headlines. A tactical error by the authors, really, as it allows anti-snooping campaigners to suggest that CCTV is useless anyway, so we may as well not bother with it.

That certainly isn't what the writers meant. They'd prefer to see all CCTV systems - public and private - upgraded, and not just so that detectives would be able to ID known villains or confirm/prove that suspects in custody had done wrong.

"Improving the quality of CCTV images will support the development of current, complimentary [sic] technologies such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and future technologies such as facial recognition," they say.

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.