Monday, 1 October 2007

Big Brother IS watching you (but doesn't give a damn)

4.2 million CCTV cameras and counting in the UK. That's 1 for every 14 people. On average you are captured over 300 times a day. George Orwell warned us of this in his creation "Nineteen Eightyfour". He lived at Flat 27b Canonbury Square, London. Within 200 yards of his flat there are now 32 CCTV cameras...Big Brother is truly here.
In the spirit of research, I decided to see how many cameras and how many times I was filmed on a short few minute walk around my immediate neighbourhood.
First off, the local station. A small station with reasonable sized car park for commuters to 'park and ride' in a quiet suburb of a small town. How many cameras would you expect?

What a lovely welcome! Do you feel safer? Why the need for spikes?

On the walkway and the platform, more 'prettified' cameras. Remember this count doesn't include the two more cameras in the ticket office, just the ones encountered as you walk out in public areas.

You might think your car is safer parked in such a well watched place, but of an evening it was left up to me to tackle some teenagers running across vehicle rooves. They ran off when they saw me in the car, after an angrily executed tyre squealing J-turn and a short chase I caught them. The police were phoned but never turned up, not a peep out of any transport police that should have been dispatched by the camera operators. What was I meant to do? I had to let them go. This might lead you to believe that the cameras aren't being watched, but no. Park with one of your wheels on the white line and a voice booms out from the top of a mast that you are not complying with car park regulations!!!!!!

On your exit, an extra camera scans the back of your head...just in case.
So, how many cameras to guard the ever so dangerous station....24!

The tally increases as I amble up the road. One camera filming the road outside offices. One filming you from the Chinese takeaway. 14 watch you as you pass the petrol station. There are pinhole cameras mounted in the pumps themselves now. 4 in the small public car park. 3 follow you as you walk by the library. 3 more point across the road at you from a small electronics manufacturer.

Homeward bound a police car passes, adding another 3 (1 forward facing, 1 to the rear and 1 automatic number plate recognition ).
The final total on my short walk?...Fifty three! This doesn't include any residential cameras or those keeping tabs on you in shops etc. This is not the middle of a city.
Do these cameras serve their purpose? I don't think so. Last week a neighbour was robbed, their car stolen, that car was then used in a break in of the pub across the road. The perpetrators were neither identified or apprehended. In April I had to chase thieves (posted as 'Men in black' gone bad...(April)), no images available on video. What's the point of these cameras? It is 1984, it's just running late....


Elisa, Jarrod, Thomas & Zoe said...

Ok, those pictures bring back some memories!
Hey I'm back...did you miss me???

BTW just read your post below and I am laughing my ass off at the pegs on the leaves!

photowannabe said...

Amazing photojournalism Barkfoot. Big Brother has too many eyes...

Lavender said...

Egads, youd think with that level of coverage that there would be less crime! I guess it just proves that they dont discourage the baddies one jot!
So, does your face hurt from smiling at the cameras all day?
I hope you didnt get a pair of constables stop round your place to see why you were 'casing' the route of your walk!

Madwag said...

The cameras don't bother me only because I haven't done anything that I would be afraid of someone seeing. It does bother me that they aren't as efficient as they should be to catch the people who commit crimes. I hate speed cameras!!! I suppose there are times where they do catch people doing horrible things but not enough to support how many there are to watch us. Good for you to stop those yobs who were jumping on cars... boo on the police that never showed up!!! That happens so frequent doesn't it?

secret agent said...

maybe it's like home security signs... they are more affective in theory than the system itself???

so you chased the kids down?
a tough guy

Gillian @ Indigo Blue said...

Yo, Barkman~!
Actually, it doesn't bother me one bit. I guess it might be to do with the fact that I have nothing to hide. And if someone watches me...who cares? They put the cameras there to catch criminals. As a woman, I would appreciate knowing someone was keeping an eye out for me.
The spikes are a bit over the top, but then again so is vandalizing a camera in order to commit your crime.

somewhere joe said...

Maybe the electronic neural network has reached the point where the cameras have acquired a nascent self-awareness and have begun watching each other - checking each other out, on the sly - instead of watching for crime.

Alice said...

Haha, the next time I wanna pick my nose when there's no one around, I'd think again.

Lesley said...

Amazing photos. I am also equally amazed, as always when this subject is brought up, how many people don't care because "they aren't doing anything wrong." I always wonder where those people draw the line? Public bathrooms, changing rooms, their yard, their bedroom? I also always wonder about those people that are so frightened that they like those cameras. What makes someone that frightened? I have a pretty normal life, I watch the news, I go out and I am cautious, but not frightened enough to think I need cameras watching everywhere I go. I live near a fairly high crime rate city too and that is where I do all my shopping and business. I can only assume that the plot to keep everyone frightened of crime and terrorism 24/7 is working.

vicci said...

WoW! I never knew this about England.....I live it the woods...and just never think about cameras....It does remind you of Big Brother.....