Thursday, May 08, 2008
Smile You're on Candid Camera
Over in the U.K., closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are a ubiquitous sight: the country—led by London—has more of the tiny public surveillance cameras than any other country in Europe.
They’re not that effective after all. Detective chief inspector Mick Neville of Scotland Yard, metropolitan London’s police force, called the assumed crime-deterrents an “utter fiasco” adding that the cameras have only helped to solve 3 percent of street robberies and that people aren’t really camera-shy when it comes to committing crimes in public. (CCTV footage did, it's nonetheless worth noting, helped British police successfully investigate terrorism suspects in the July 2005 London transit bombings.)
For Torontonians, soon to be monitored on and in TTC buses, subways, streetcars, and stations, this should be a point of contention. Ontario’s privacy commissioner has already addressed Big Brother concerns by recommending annual audits, and that footage be deleted after three days (unless it’s being used in an investigation). And unlike in London Toronto transit cameras won’t be manned.