Editorial Echoes is returning Editorial Echoes 30/10/2007

London’s Surveillance Network

October 30th, 2007 at 10:30pm

Good evening Stuart,

I was watching Foreign Correspondent on the ABC tonight as they had an interesting story about the surveillance camera network in London. As a regular watcher of "The Bill" I am well aware of the fact that London has an extensive surveillance network which is often used by the police to help solve crimes.

I was interested by the fact that they have a central control room though as I was not aware of this, and they have people in there watching the cameras and alerting various authorities to issues in the city as well as using a public address system to talk to people who are littering or doing other misdemeanours, and that the police and parking inspectors sometimes have cameras to help with collecting evidence.

I think the whole idea is fantastic, it helps solve crimes, it makes it harder to appeal against things where there is video evidence, and it just makes the whole system of law enforcement and general civil order so much more efficient and reliable. I don't like the idea they are considering of systems that try to predict what you might do, as that is just a technical nonsense, but the existing systems are great especially the traffic cameras that keep a look out for wanted vehicles etc.

Britain plan on making the system a national one, and I think we should start setting up a similar network here…the bottom line is in my view, if you don't have anything to hide, then you've got nothing to worry about. Bring on the cameras!

By the way, the ABC will most likely have the story online at http://abc.net.au/foreign/ tomorrow. I think you'll find it to be quite interesting

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

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15 Comments

  • 1. Pen 15  |  October 30th, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Interesting idea.

    How would you feel about people having their phone conversations monitored? It might help stem the drug flow that seems all too common these days.

  • 2. Samuel  |  October 30th, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Phone calls are a bit more private than what you do out on the street (unless it’s a public payphone), and I think the current warrant system works well for phone calls, emails, searches etc.

  • 3. Tony  |  October 31st, 2007 at 1:16 am

    Keep an eye on those royals UK, they could be terrorists.
    How do we know the Corgi’s are not exploding dogs, just waiting to go off at the right time.
    They should be checked for Ticks.

  • 4. Clayton Northcutt  |  October 31st, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    What about random ‘drop ins’ by the police Samuel? That would keep people on edge and prevent all sorts of crimes?

  • 5. Samuel  |  October 31st, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Random drop-ins without reason to suspect criminal activity is a silly idea, but an increase in foot patrols or bicycle patrols would be a good idea.

  • 6. Mr-Pappadappadopolis  |  October 31st, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    And to top it all, Jey is not a bloke.

  • 7. Samuel  |  October 31st, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Very true, but we haven’t seen Jey around here for a while and I’m afraid that I don’t understand the connection.

  • 8. Mr-Pappadappadopolis  |  October 31st, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    Neither do I Samuel.
    If Jey is not a bloke, it means Jey is either –

    1. A girl.

    2. A robot

    3. An alien from another planet.

    4. Some sort of conscious entity, such as the HAL 9000
    computer.

  • 9. David-H-Eastwood  |  November 1st, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    An alien from another planet ? Help ! Help ! ! ! !

  • 10. John999555  |  November 1st, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    Relax Eastwood. Just because Jey is not a bloke, it doesn’t automatically mean he (or she) is an Alien from another planet.

  • 11. Clayton Northcutt  |  November 1st, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    But just because crimes happen in public Samuel isn’t reason enough to put everyone under surveillance. Unless it is, then in which case crimes also happen in the home, and people should be wary that they will be caught there as well by the random drop-ins.

  • 12. Pen 15  |  November 1st, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Re: phone taps and police drop ins…isn’t your stance on such matters: “if you don’t have anything to hide, then you’ve got nothing to worry about.”?

  • 13. Pen 15  |  November 6th, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    And theres no answer…

  • 14. Samuel  |  November 7th, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    I apologise for that Pen. I didn’t mean to leave this discussion hanging like that.

    Clayton, camera surveillance in my view is no different to having more police on patrol, except it costs less in the long run, is more efficient than having a police officer on every corner, and produces solid video evidence. People still have the right to privacy in their own home unless there are reasonable grounds for the police to intervene, such as circumstances which would lead to the issue of a search warrant.

    Pen, same thing with phone taps…we have a warrant system to allow a balance between privacy and reasonable law enforcement (although it could be argued that the way some people use their mobile phones in public in a manner which broadcasts their conversation to all nearby people revokes their right to a private phone call).

    Admittedly my stance is that if you aren’t doing anything wrong then you don’t have anything to worry about, but there is still a right to privacy in the home to a large degree, and there has to be some sort of system in place to prevent unnecessary snooping by officials.

    To that end, the streets are a public place, the police can patrol them, so I see no problem with a natural extension of that to cameras in the streets. If you’re stupid enough to commit a crime in a public place, then I see no reason why such measures shouldn’t be allowed to capture you doing so.

  • 15. Pen 15  |  November 7th, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    I’m all for reducing crime, Sam, but I would much rather see the lawful majority’s right to privacy be respected than live in a Big Brother environment designed to catch the wrongdoings of a minority few.

    Incidentally, a British study in 2005 showed the only place the cameras helped reduce crime was in car parks.

    http://securityinfowatch.com/online/Research–Studies-and-Whitepapers/3189SIW321


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