This is what a surveillance society looks like.

The U.K. has a shitload of closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) almost everywhere you go. One local artist who realized that he was monitored almost constantly by the police decided to see how long it would take them to notice an 8 foot tall alien wandering on an empty street so he got some friends together and made it happen:

In short, it didn’t take very long for police to show up and they weren’t thrilled at the prank. Watching the video brings home just what living in such a society would be like for anyone who’s at all out of the ordinary. The idea of being constantly watched is chilling indeed and there are many who would love to replicate that sort of thing here in America. It’s already started in some places around the country. I suppose on the one hand it’s a good thing that the police are able to notice and respond to a potential threat so quickly, but it’s so easily abused and the hassle of dealing with countless false alarms is sure to cause many of them to discourage anything that would require them to waste time checking it out. Things like walking around in an 8 foot alien costume.

It also shows how unrealistic Doctor Who is. A police box suddenly appearing out of no where would be swarmed by the police within moments by the looks of it, let alone anything truly alien looking.

Found via Gizmodo.

9 thoughts on “This is what a surveillance society looks like.

  1. BTW…Hello, gentlemen and ladies here, it is such an honor and pleasure to be amongst like-minded people. On the above thread, I wonder how long it will be or how many Elvis spottings they’ve had???

  2. May I clarify.  These cameras are not Government cameras.  They fall into 4 broad catagories.

    1) Police traffic cameras- used on main/busy roads to monitor traffic flow.

    2) Specified government sites requiring security- prisons, military camps etc

    3) Those operated by town councils.  These are primarily in public places and monitored by civilians- though I know at least one police station that did get a feed from the local control centre, and covered at times the civvies didn’t work (3am tuesday morning).  These cover places like shopping areas, parks.

    4) Amoung the most common- privately owned- ie INSIDE shops, offices, and outside some houses.

    There is no ‘big brother’ central control room. CCTV is a common solution by ordinary people.

  3. Low level street crime is the usual reason people will ask for it (I’m not saying every one, but sometimes CCTV is seen as the way to discourage anti-social behaviour, as you have the perpetrators on film).

    Most cameras are in private hands- shops, malls etc, and most shops seem to have them. I’m sure they willpoint out you don’t have to enter the shop if you don’t like their security to prevent shop lifting.

    Both the kids schools have CCTV- they are there to keep an eye on kids so no weirdos get into the school and do unspeakable things. Now in a calm collected world we all know how unlikely that is, but how do you explain that to a parent who has swallowed too much of the shock press? Whose right is being infringed.

    On the other hand paedophiles do occasionally visit play areas, and people will see surveilance as a good thing.  Also public areas are prone to being vandalised, or younger kids being driven away by teens. Again people will ask how are these cameras hurting them.

    The ones in public areas tend to be town centres and high streets- places where crowds build up. CCTV gives a easy ‘eye in the sky’ to direct security or police to incidents.  They also monitor drinkers at the week end.

    The question is: Which of these should be removed, and why? How exactly are they harming the average man in the street?

    At the moment these are a ‘passive’ system, used to direct security to incidents, or to provide evidence after the event.  If they were one unified system capable of tracking people across the country I would oppose that, but then your bank already does that.

  4. The question is: Which of these should be removed, and why? How exactly are they harming the average man in the street?

    I see. The surveillance version of Pascal’s Wager.

  5. No its not. The difference is cameras exist.  I really do want to know which ones to oppose.  I do get a ‘feeling’ about so many, but I can not always articulate it.  Should I avoid shops with CCTV? On what rationale?  What harm is the one overlooking the school entrance? That is controlled by the school.  The traffic control ones?  These are used by radio stations to inform travellers of problems.  Criminals are caught on camera every day, and photos published by the police.

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