There was an interesting programme on telly last night (Tues) about CCTV in the UK (the first in a two-part series). It showed lots of examples of when CCTV helped solved crimes over the years, presenting significant ‘mile-stones’ in the development of the technology.
What it didn’t really do however, was address the other side of the argument, and talk about what has been lost in the process. Everyone remembers a few very high-profile cases where they were a real asset. No one knows if there are any privacy violations that are caused by having cameras. I’m certainly not aware of any analysis of whether the cost (in terms of what we lose in privacy) is outweighed by the gains.
They also talked about how cameras act as a deterrent – again this is true from the point of view of the community that now has the cameras, but it hasn’t solve the crime problem, just moved it to another area that doesn’t have cameras. The problem is solved from the point of view of the community, but not from the point of view of society.
All very interesting though, but I would like to see the other side of the story – especially as cameras are (apparently) getting more intelligent in spotting problems.