Friday, July 08, 2005

London's Cameras

I have a question. London is one of the most monitored cities in the world. Something on the order of 10,000 video cameras are in operation 24 hours a day, monitoring public areas, streets and the underground. I've seen estimates that an average Londoner appears on 300 video cameras on an average day. Since these cameras only monitor public areas where the people have no reasonable expectation of privacy, opposition to all of this monitoring hasn't been enough to prevent the deployment, growth or use of this system. Here's my question - are the feeds from all of these cameras available to the public? And, if not, why not? Why can't Joe Londoner pull up the feed from camera number 7061 on his PC at home any time he likes? Why should access to this video be limited to the police or to government agencies, if the area being monitored is a public space? Personally, I'd be much less opposed to this kind of system if it was a public resource that the police had access to, rather than a policing system from which the public was excluded.


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