Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Tip Of The CCTV Iceberg

Is it surprising that CCTV cameras are being abused by staff at CCTV centres? Not really. There's an article in The Sun today that outs Tom Muff, who couldn't be more appropriately named, as spying on women using the police screens that he is paid to watch.
A POLICE CCTV operator has been carpeted — after security camera footage showed close-ups of the boobs and backside of a woman in the street.

Shocked detectives found a 20-minute sequence of saucy footage while checking the film during a probe into an assault.

The screen was filled by shots of a scantily clad woman’s breasts, bum and legs as she was “followed” by cameras in Worcester.

The Sun story, as you can imagine, is focused on the more salacious side of the incident, but there is a much larger issue at stake. Anybody who claims that this type of ubiquitous surveillance is only troubling to those of us who've done anything wrong is crazy. This is an occasion when an individual abused the system, but in the long-run there is no reason that the government can't undertake similar or worse abuses of our rights. Dizzy wrote yesterday about us not assuming that future governments will be as incompetent as the current one and he is absolutely right. This technology in the hands of an efficient state machine rather than a horny operator could be terrifying.

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