Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) -- It's Saturday night in Middlesbrough, England, and drunken university students are celebrating the start of the school year, known as Freshers' Week.
One picks up a traffic cone and runs down the street. Suddenly, a disembodied voice booms out from above:
``You in the black jacket! Yes, you! Put it back!'' The confused student obeys as his friends look bewildered.
``People are shocked when they hear the cameras talk, but when they see everyone else looking at them, they feel a twinge of conscience and comply,'' said Mike Clark, a spokesman for Middlesbrough Council who recounted the incident. The city has placed speakers in its cameras, allowing operators to chastise miscreants who drop coffee cups, ride bicycles too fast or fight outside bars.
Almost 70 years after George Orwell created the all-seeing dictator Big Brother in the novel ``1984,'' Britons are being watched as never before. About 4.2 million spy cameras film each citizen 300 times a day, and police have built the world's largest DNA database. Prime Minister Tony Blair said all Britons should carry biometric identification cards to help fight the war on terror.
``Nowhere else in the free world is this happening,'' said Helena Kennedy, a human rights lawyer who also is a member of the House of Lords, the upper house of Parliament. ``The American public would find such inroads into civil liberties wholly unacceptable.''
3. It is happening here, the way it happened over there.
The precipitating incident there was the security camera that caught the two boys leading a child out of a store, to subsequently kill him. They were caught because of the camera. British press played that up, and suddenly there were cameras everywhere.
Here, we had the camera catching the abduction of that girl in a parking lot, which led to her abductor being caught. It's moved more slowly, because of our defense of civil rights, privacy, etc., but the movement in on - and more cameras are going up all the time.
Take an isolated incident, splatter it all over the national press, and we have people hysterically calling for total public surveilance - even here, I saw postings praising the spy cameras.
5. yes it will get worse. people will embrace and advocate for these
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 11:49 AM by seabeyond
cameras. they already do.
we were going thru a lite with in laws this weekend. all of a sudden my 72 yr old father in law stomps on the gas and we all are pushed back by force to get thru the just turned yellow lite. then tell me a camera. how good the thing is. personally, his driving in that manner scared the shit out of me for a minute. no way he is flexible enough to drive in that manner. i told them, and then when you have people slamming on breaks to stop, when they should go thru, causing accidents a whole nother set of problems. in law says, true, but still, it is worth it.
worth what? not that there have been accidents at that lite, just people they supposedly seem running the light.
i am not thinking nothing is worth a man like my 72 yr old father in law driving like that
8. I'm not afraid of life and I don't go around picking my nose
or scratching my ass in public. However, I would deeply resent cameras that talk as much as I would resent knowing they were being watched in real time. The kid who committed the petty crime of nicking a traffic pylon would soon realize that crime doesn't pay every time he tripped over it in his apartment. That's how kids learn about petty crime. Those Big Brother cameras are a terrible idea. They need to go.
Cameras have managed to identify many violent criminals. If they are used for this purpose, if the information is not viewed unless a major crime has been committed in the area, I have no problem with them. It's like having an eyewitness who has been trained to identify people, not a causal stranger who gets nearly everything wrong as most of us do.
I see the biggest danger with totalitarians like the GOP getting hold of them and using them to identify and harass protesters. They are a mixed bag and need to be regulated to death with stiff penalties for any official, elected or appointed, who uses them for a purpose other than identifying criminals committing major crimes.
Remember that horrible case in the UK of two eleven year old boys murdering a younger boy? If those cameras hadn't been there, those two murderous brats would never have been caught. No one would have thought to look for school age murderers.
We already have webcams all over the place. Just Google it if you don't believe me. They won't make us safer, but they will help us put predators in jail. Like everything else in life, they can be good or bad. Having them watched in real time is bad, as is having some Nanny in the Sky nagging us is. Having the data available in case a major crime is committed in the area is good.
9. Predictability is a good word..... for you. not all of us need it to feel
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 12:02 PM by seabeyond
safe and secure and protected and whatever.....
i was just at in laws house who are so fuckin anal with the need for predictability and order and control. it is a hell of a restrictive and limited way of living. not a good place to be. no desire to live in that manner. no need to live in that manner. just a little bit of hell for five days. couldnt wait to get out of that world and back in mine of peace and serenity and a confidence of those around me to make the good and right choices themselves, in all the creative ways. life doesnt scare me. how sad for those that are so very afraid
you probably have seen my name on this issue. lol. something i feel pretty strongly about. i have more faith in people than what seems like most to be able to walk life without a rule book or a camera to watch our every step. 45 yrs it has worked for me. i value that. i had parents that allowed me to gain the confidence in self by making own choices. i now have inlaws that at 45 tell me to put a coat on cause it is cold outside. f* that sh*t. lol lol. she insists that though people are bothered with her desire, demand for control, that we truly appreciate and value it and her wise demands. really, all that comes from it is i dont want to be around her and i dont like her, just too polite to tell her so.
thanks for your clarification
i am raising two boys and we spend a lot of time looking at rules, using our own common sense, like, walk on that grass, it is what it is there for and feels good and hurts nothing. dont blindly follow.
17. Well, control and order have their own versions of crime
Just on a bigger scale. Slavery, genocide, only possible with large scale control and order.
My worldview is one of smaller is better. Control and order haven't stopped crime. Whether it's a robbery, a murder, or massive layoffs for profit leaving families wondering what they'll do next.
We'll try to cure crime by increasing control and order, but we'll never get over the hump. We'll never be able to stop increasing control and order, because if we ever do cure crime, as soon as we stop, crime will start again.
15. spy cameras are not effective law enforment tools, but a pretext to control..
through implied coercion. If we think that we are being spied on...we will behave- wrong.
Let's look at the law enforcement angle. How were the following criminals found and arrested? Ted Bundy- routine police work after a witness saw a VW bug. A cop stopped him a few days later. David Berkowitz (The Son of Sam Killer)- a parking ticket from his vehicle being parked near a murder lead cops to his house. Tim McVeigh- a cop pulled over his vehicle for driving without a proper tag.
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