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An interesting documentary on the Discovery Channel this evening confirms what I have recently suspected: London is the CCTV camera capital of the world, with over half a million hidden cameras, one for every fifteen or so people. They are literally everywhere. The documentary appears to be focusing on the positive effects in the fight against crime, but the privacy aspects are worrying. There were cameras on buses over five years ago, something I see here in Dublin now, too.

Every car that enters the centre of London now has its number plate read by computer, both for Congestion Charging, and for police purposes. The City of London “Square Mile” was the first to implement such a system, having a history of terrorist attacks. It’s no coincidence that that was where I had my bag searched earlier this year. The Borough of Newham goes even further, with facial recognition systems watching everyone in public areas, looking for known criminals. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this scheme extended to the rest of London.

Half a work day was lost today, preparing to move our team to a different part of the building. We’re being moved three floors up, most of us to identical desks, a mirror image of the layout below. At least I’ll now have a view over the buildings to the hills around Dublin.

Written by brian t

June 6, 2003 at 9:33 pm

Posted in london, work

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