Digital TV channel More4 are showing a documentary "Suspect Nation" tonight at 9pm:
Henry Porter (the Observer journalist famous for his recent email clash with Tony Blair over the paring down of civil liberties) reveals in this unsettling film, our movements are being watched, and recorded, more than ever before.
Today Monday 20 November 2006 9pm
repeat Wednesday 29th November 10pm
We will be interested to see how many of the linked privacy and security issues which we suggested to the programme makers actually make it into this one hour documentary - there are enough for a long series of documentaries.
Will our modest assistance to the contribution of Professor Clive Norris, the criminologist expert on the actual effectiveness of CCTV surveillance systems, make it in to the final cut of the programme ?
Secondly, in a triumphant piece of investigative reporting, Porter demonstrates that the new tools that are supposed to fight terrorism could actually make life easier for those that want to hide their true identity. He meets a security expert who demonstrates just how easy it is to crack into the signals given off from CCTV cameras and by downloading their footage could gain crucial security information from the people they follow (for instance the cameras can be used to work out security protocols inside buildings).
The insecurity of CCTV systems e.g. consumer video conferencing web cameras or professional pan tilt zoom IP cameras connected to the Internet, or those which use the license free Industrial / Scientific / Medical allocated radio frequency bands e.g. 2.4 GHz as used by WiFi wireless networked computers, have been a cause of concern to us for years.
This is also why we object to "community" CCTV schemes which threaten to promise to transmit CCTV surveillance camera images into local community or housing estate cable or broadband internet access schemes.
Not only can the "neighbourhood watch" keep a look out for suspicious drug dealers and thieves, but the drug dealers and thieves can also use the same systems to watch out for the Police or to stalk their victims, or to remotely find out when their properties are empty and vulnerable.