The days of the friendly London Bobby strolling through a neighborhood, talking with passers-by and being offered the occasional tea are long gone. London’s residents have become the most monitored in the free world, as nearly 500,000 video cameras (some of which cost up to $50k each) and microphones are set throughout the city recording the everyday actions of millions of people as they pass through old London town. One of London’s own, George Orwell, had a vision of modern-day London which is coming true.
The original problem? London’s unarmed police offers were being harassed and attacked and had little ability to defend themselves.
The solution? Get the Cops off the streets, and put them behind video screens where they could “more effectively” monitor crimes in all its forms throughout the city.
The result? Thousands of cameras are allowing the police to do post-crime investigation (“Dial 911 and Die”) quite effectively, however they just aren’t on-the-streets anymore and can’t help stop a brewing situation from overwhelming the city.
This appears to be just another mis-application of technology. Although the cameras have allowed the London Police from having to be on the streets, the overwhelming results is that the Police are now very much out-of-touch with the “feel” of the street. Something which isn’t possible with shiny, new CCTV technology.
Not to mention, the civil liberty implications…
- Social Media, Privacy, Mass Surveillance, London Riots and the Arab Uprising (nextbigfuture.com)
- The Ideology of the London Riots (forbes.com)
- A bad day for civil liberties (bigbrotherwatch.org.uk)
- Facial recognition in use after riots (physorg.com)
- The Twitter Riots put the Surveillance Society on trial (computerweekly.com)