The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 70/No. 8           February 27, 2006  
Gov’t uses 4 million cameras
in UK to spy on population
LONDON—The British government has now installed and is operating 4 million closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras—one for every 14 people—to spy on individuals across the country. This “gives the UK a quarter of the world’s cameras to photograph 1 per cent of the world’s population,” said an article in the January 16 London Times.

This is more than the number of such cameras in the rest of Europe, the Daily Telegraph reported, allowing the police and other government agencies to monitor the movement and activity of much of the population at any given moment.

According to the Financial Times, a camera control center in Westminster, London, has direct radio links to five Westminster police divisions. Control operator Bill Newman told the Times “there is a ‘healthy competition’ between [camera] operators as to who gets the most arrests.” The operators know the exact locations of the cameras and their recording range.

The Financial Times reporter, Sarah Duguid, described how Newman used a joy stick to make one camera’s powerful lens close into a spot in London a mile and a half away from the camera’s location. “He zooms in on three young men wearing baseball caps,” Duguid said. “He gets so close to them that I can read the brand of their mobile phone. ‘Theoretically,’ explains Newman, ‘I could read a text message from here.’”

Camden Council authorities in north London have placed tiny, “motion-sensitive” cameras in flower pots, light fixtures, and fake electricity boxes to spy on residents, according to the Telegraph, claiming the aim is to crack down on crime and “anti-social behavior.”

CCTV’s are used to intrude on people’s privacy. Two camera operators at the control center of Sefton Council, Liverpool, were reportedly caught recently zooming in to watch a woman undress in her home.

The Telegraph reported the government plans to double the number of CCTV cameras in the London underground to 12,000 over the next five years and upgrade them with more modern technology.

In rural areas like Powys, Wales, cops are pioneering a system that allows them to spy on people in six different small towns through one central network.

Cops are also to start using a new system that will automatically link an estimated 3,000 roadside cameras across the country with car registration records. The system will be capable of handling 35 million plate identifications daily, with plans to increase capacity so that information from 100 million cars could be kept.  
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