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« Women, Abortion, Divorce and the Chilean Catholic Church | Main | The Politics of Water Management and Conservation »

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

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spyinthesky

The Information Commissioner Office research paper on the "Public Attitudes to the Deployment of Surveillance Techniques in Public Places" is an interesting survey that provides an in-depth review of peoples attitudes to CCTV in the UK.

Report can be downloaded at the following URL: http://www.ico.gov.uk/documentUploads/CCTV%20report.pdf.

The study confirms, as Mermaid Girl commented, that UK residents are not so concerned with the principle of CCTV but its overall management. The majority of those surveyed raised issues regarding the confidentiality and usage of the footage. CCTV footage is effectively governed by the Data Protection Act of 1998 and some basic guidelines issued by the government. I think we would all feel far more relaxed if the government in addition to extending CCTV coverage into remote areas, ensured proper legislation was enforced to manage the increased use of CCTV by private entities. The solution from my perspective is make some of these resolutions governing the use of CCTV strict legal requirements as opposed to voluntary codes of good practice.

Mermaid Girl

According to the Home Office overall crime is down (http://www.crimestatistics.org.uk/output/Page54.asp). When you look at the figures for types of offences on their own the same thing goes. I think that whatever serious crime that is committed is the result of areas without CCTV (and any person who's lived in a UK suburb can attest to dead end streets, poorly lit alleyways etc). Quite honestly, I'm suprised that rape and violent crime is not skyrocketing with all the desolated greens (most of which you need to walk through to get to somewhere) that urban planners keep on insisting upon. Ok, enough with my tirade on poor urban planning... Dare I say, the concensus of most people living in the UK regarding CCTV is simply 'big deal, I don't commit crime so I don't have anything to worry about'. I personally share that same point of view, and rather, I feel that a greater threat to personal liberties is not CCTV but the nanny state that the UK is morphing into. Where a clamp down on personal liberties is always justified as 'it's for your own good).

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