The people of the United Kingdom are possibly the most group of people in the history of the world under surveillance. Forget the NSA’s ever-expanding reach over every form of communication imaginable. We’re talking cameras… everywhere. The City of London is equipped with thousands of them, so is Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and, well, like I said before, pretty much everywhere. In a nation of 64 million residents, there is one CCTV camera for every 11 people in the UK.
The British Security Industry Authority (BSIA) estimates there are up to 5.9 million closed-circuit television cameras scattered throughout the UK, including 750,000 in “sensitive locations” such as schools, hospitals and care homes. This statistic was released in 2013 as well. Do you think they decided to halt the expansion of their Orwellian state at any point over the past two years? The safe bet is that these numbers have grown exponentially.
The truly remarkable and almost unfathomable piece of information regarding CCTV cameras in the United Kingdom is that no one really knows how many there are.
Simon Adcock, of the BSIA, said in 2013, “Because there is no single reliable source of data, no number can ever be held as truly accurate.” So basically what Simon is saying is that there are so many of these damn things, we lost count a long time ago. It appears the BSIA has guesstimated a number for the purpose of appeasing the general population.
And now for the kicker… There are apparently not enough surveillance cameras to spy on the innocent citizens of the United Kingdom, according to Scotland Yard.
Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, the head of London’s Metropolitan Police Service, is now urging residents to put CCTV cameras in their homes and businesses. Because safety. It gets better though…
Sir Bernard is encouraging inhabitants to install cameras at eye level, because according to the Scotland Yard chief,
Facial recognition software has got better, and we can now apply it to images of burglaries, and then compare them with images we take when we arrest people.
What we need to be able to do is to be able to compare that photograph with the images we have of people committing a crime.
Taking the tops of their heads is not that helpful for facial recognition which relies on the eyes and the configuration of the area around the nose and the mouth. So we’re trying to get people to, ideally, add a camera at face level.
If anyone listening has a business, think about installing a new one – they’re relatively cheap. If you can’t buy one, could you think about moving it?
Sir Bernard wants to encroach on the privacy of the good people of the United Kingdom to such a prodigious level, that he is encouraging them to install video cameras with facial recognition capabilities inside of their most personal of spaces? Wow.
Does the government really need to peer in on our most intimate moments of isolation to keep us secure?
Have we really come to a point in our civilization, in a supposed ‘free society’ mind you, where we put facial recognition equipped cameras in our homes?
Police Will Be Able To Read Everyone’s Internet Search History Under New Plan
UK Police are asking the government for new surveillance powers to be able to view the Internet search history of every single person in the country.
Richard Berry, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman told The Guardian that “We want to police by consent, and we want to ensure that privacy safeguards are in place. But we need to balance this with the needs of the vulnerable and the victims. We essentially need the ‘who, where, when and what’ of any communication – who initiated it, where were they and when did it happened. And a little bit of the ‘what’, were they on Facebook, or a banking site, or an illegal child-abuse image-sharing website?”
“Five years ago, [a suspect] could have physically walked into a bank and carried out a transaction. We could have put a surveillance team on that but now, most of it is done online. We just want to know about the visit,” he added.
It is likely that police are already looking at your online activity, but just want the power to do it legally. As we learned from whistleblower Edward Snowden, governments are very interested what their citizens are doing online, and they do have the technology to spy on every telephone call and Internet communication.
Police in the UK have been attempting to reach for these powers through legislation for years, but they have been blocked on multiple occasions. This new effort proves that they will not be giving up on getting legal permission for their spying programs.
MP David Davis told The Guardian “It’s extraordinary they’re asking for this again, they are overreaching and there is no proven need to retain such data for a year.”
Home Secretary Theresa May will announce the specifics of the plan during a meeting about the Government’s new surveillance bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
“I’ve said many times before that it is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security, including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers and the oversight arrangements that govern them without also considering the threats that we face as a country,” May said.
“They include not just terrorism from overseas and home-grown in the UK, but also industrial, military and state espionage.They include not just organized criminality, but also the proliferation of once physical crimes online, such as child sexual exploitation. And the technological challenges that that brings. In the face of such threats we have a duty to ensure that the agencies whose job it is to keep us safe have the powers they need to do the job,” she added.
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