Spy Blog has been counting visible CCTV spy / surveillance / safety cameras, for over 10 years now ("from habit that became instinct").
We have even conducted and advised on "spot the CCTV camera tours" for the benefit of artists, academics and the media etc.
Sousveillance by the general people and by political activists, of the infrastructure of the surveillance state, is very topical now after the initial false claims about the lack of CCTV coverage of the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in the City of London.
The BBC Radio 4 iPM programme is encouraging their listeners to do a bit of CCTV camera spotting, and to send them the results.
There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised.
George Orwell - Nineteen Eighty Four
N.B. bear in mind that just because a particular CCTV camera can be spotted in public does not automatically mean that it is
- a real camera rather than a deliberate dummy one
- is actually switched on
- is actually being watched by a real live, alert, CCTV operator who us not bored , distracted or overworked.
- is being properly maintained and the lenses kept clean and clear
- is actually recording all the time (some only take snapshots every few seconds or minutes)
- produces an image which is of sufficient quality to identify someone positively
- is not simply ignored by the police, due to budget and manpower constraints
Then there are all the cameras with long range zoom lenses or enhanced infrared night vision capabilities (something beyond even George Orwell's nightmare) or the deliberately concealed ones, which may be snooping on you , but which you cannot spot easily or at all.
Remember also the current "Climate of Fear" propaganda poster campaign which misleadingly claims
"A bomb won't go off here because weeks before a shopper reported someone studying the CCTV cameras"See Metropolitan Police terrorism fear Propaganda Poster lies about bombs, reconnaissance and CCTV cameras - updated 25th March 2009
More details on the BBC Radio 4 iPM blog:
* Jennifer Tracey
* 21 Apr 09, 04:31 PM
Listener Conrad Costa took iPM on a 15-minute stroll from the Norwich train station to the city centre. Conrad worries about the numbers of CCTV cameras. Before the walk he estimated that he would see (and be seen by) a dozen. He actually counted 30.
If you went on a similar everyday journey by foot, how many cameras would you see? More than you would have thought or fewer than you would like?
Sean Williams emailed to say that he can't see any "in an 8-mile radius of Sennybridge... Which is one of the reasons we moved here from Wimbledon".
To join in, count the number of CCTV cameras you pass in the street and send your tally and a bit about the journey to iPM by email or leave a comment on the blog.
But who's watching? Listener Andy Cade has designed a special A4 poster for you to print off (if you feel like it). It invites those viewing CCTV footage to contact us.