New Report on CCTV

CITRIS Report on CCTV in San Fransisco
CITRIS Report on CCTV in San Fransisco

Another new report shows that CCTV is not quite as effective as its advocates claim. The CITRIS report on the 4-year old, 70-camera, system in San Francisco, written by Jennifer King, Professor Deirdre Mulligan and Professor Steven Raphael shows that although there was a 20% reduction in crime against property crime in the areas covered by the cameras, crime against the person (robbery, mugging, assault, rape etc.) remained unaffected. This just adds the findings of many studies in the United Kingdom that show the same lack of preventative power from video surveillance.

Electronic Tagging for Kids

Lok8U's tag (sorry... watch)

Another day, another ridiculous device that plays on fear… British company Lok8U (urgh…) has produced a digital watch that can be used to track the wearer through GPS. Now there are plenty of these types of devices about from Bladerunner’s GPS-enabled jackets to services for tracking another person’s mobile phone. 

But there is something rather more ominous about this one. It’s not just a friendly tracking device. It is, so the makers’ claim, “the world’s first GPS locator that locates your child… not just the device.” In other words, the watch is designed so that it cannot be removed by the wearer. Never mind prisoners on probation, or offenders on behaviour orders, this is basically DIY electronic tagging for your kids. Of course it won’t stop any actual harm coming to the little darlings (and in any case it will probably be as easily removed as electronic tags are) but it might just make both you and they even more afraid of the world than you are already.

CCTV versus the Recession?

I know it’s from the Daily Mail, but the underlying story is important – it looks like the growth of CCTV in Britain may be one of the first casualties of the recession…

This just bears out what I’ve noticed in discussions with Local Council CCTV people recently – there is a massive argument going on behind the scenes about who will pay for CCTV monitoring. At a recent Users’ event I attended, some local government officers were suggesting that the police should pay local authorities for the use of cameras, which of course the police saw as ridiculous. Other operators argued for a competitive model where ‘successful’ money-making operators could take the ‘business’ of other authorities. And some, like Worcester are just mothballing their monitoring operations.

It brings up another bigger issue which has been bugging me for a while which is that when it comes down to it, it will probably not be resistance that is the biggest enemy of surveillance, but capitalism. The size of the surveillance industry may not be big enough to counter the losses incurred through increased border controls, and the imposition of inefficient monitoring practices…