Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Talking CCTV and the Executioner's Smile

I have used this Tom Stoppard quote before, never mind, here it is again. 'Credibility is an expanding field... Sheer disbelief hardly registers on the face before the head is nodding with all the wisdom of instant hindsight.' Ten or twenty years ago, the idea that government would watch every move we made on CCTV cameras would have been greeted with rank disbelief. A generation that had read Orwell's 1984 would know exactly where that would lead. Now, of course, our heads nodding with instant hindsight, we have largely accepted this state of affairs. There have been debates about personal freedom, of course, but I stopped registering them some time ago. 1984, I reasoned, was a novel and it was read by an excitable generation. Reality was different. Today, however, I was awoken from my dogmatic slumbers by the news that a talking CCTV camera scheme, piloted in Middlesborough, is to be expanding, meaning, I assume, it will soon be everywhere. TV reporters, on the whole a witless breed, have been demonstrating the system by dropping litter and being shouted at by a voice emanating from the top of a pole. And, of course, John Reid has been appearing, with his executioner's smile, assuring us that it was a wonderful idea. This is grotesque, vile, a move to infantilise yet further an already infantile electorate and yet another gimmicky evasion of serious policy choices. A town centre filled with the sound of booming, reprimanding voices is, indeed, an Orwellian vision. Who knows what new crimes will be invented to justify and empower the new breed of barking bureaucrats?

21 comments:

  1. Why do we need talking CCTV cameras for litter louts?

    Someone nearby should just pick up their litter and give it back to them (with some appropriate greeting and explanation).

    Best regards

    ReplyDelete
  2. I fear this may be just the beginning of a concerted effort on the part of governments to roll back the privatisation of morality. Morality has parted company with ethics, it seems. A morality that lacks an underpining ethical code of conduct (rules) is far too contingent and unpredictable. Moral subjectivity may be the sine qua non of consumerism, but it is anathema to public order and civic responsibility. Sorry, probably a bit early in the day for armchair (or swivel chair) philosophising. But worth a try.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good God. And people scoff at conspiracy theorists. What a sick, belittling and essentially evil little vision of humanity these John Reid human simulations possess. Where do peple imagine this is all leading, for time does have a tendency to move on, and faults untempered to magnify.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Who are these people? Who actually dreamt it up in a fit of Kafkaesque surrealism? Do CCTV-guys go down the pub, swap tales of our everyday weirdness and then think how funny it could be to talk to those strange people on the screens; then put it to the boss and sit slack-jawed as he says why not? I'd think it were still April 1st were it not for Reid the Reaper saying it. Persians grabbing our sailors, weirdos running our government, creeps snooping in our bins...is this one big cosmic joke?

    ReplyDelete
  5. It does sound not only horrendously Orwellian but also Kafkaesque.

    ……taking out my car keys to open the car door in Queens Square I inadvertently drop a tiny piece of paper ……

    The “device” then bellows out “That’s a litter offence – stand completely still until a community support officer approaches you – do NOT pick up the litter as that will constitute a further offence of the obstruction of justice”.

    The community support officer arrives “You have committed an offence for which the penalty is an on the spot fine of £60 plus a surcharge to assist the victims of crime of £15 please immediately accompany me to the nearest cashpoint to enable you to settle these community penalties”.

    “Ah but you see…..”

    “I’m sorry sir you have just committed a further offence which will now result in the immediate issue of an official order of the court, an “AHBUTO”. This order states, inter alia, that any responses of this nature, anywhere in the United Kingdom, in the future will constitute a breach of this order which may, and likely will, result in a custodial sentence. I presume sir you have nothing else you wish to say at this point. Please wait while I print out and give you the “AHBUTO” after which we will proceed to the cashpoint”

    ReplyDelete
  6. Needless to say, I am not a supporter of this kind of thing. My feeble theorising perhaps giving the wrong impression. Such methods are crude and facile.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Kafka has also got at my punctuation somehow most ? = ".

    Sorry Bryan

    ReplyDelete
  8. Not your fault, BOF, it's something in the software I think.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh you miserable bunch.

    I think this a fantastic invention. Think of the fun you could have setting it off: "Don't drop litter! Keep off the grass! Stop throwing beer cans at me! Stop doing all these things at once!"

    I predict that Talking Cam-Enraging will be a popular Saturday night pastime in Middlesborough for a while. God knows there's bugger all else to do there. The place is Kafkawellian-esque.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I wonder will the talking cameras in Liverpool demand an apology too.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Schizophrenics will know for sure the voices are not just in their heads.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Next stop, the micro-chipped population; you know it makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just another step towards Surveillance society.
    Thought some of your readers might be interested in a cartoon I did on the subject:
    http://clangnuts.blogspot.com/2007/04/talking-cctv-cartoon.html

    ReplyDelete
  14. They'll have to make them multi-lingual so as not to infringe the human rights of foreign litter louts.

    Regional accents would be a bonus, too.

    ReplyDelete
  15. And what of snooping and sniching on all as currently advertised on the radio in London?

    ReplyDelete
  16. There's a great site where you can get everything you'll need for a top notch CCTV surveillance system.

    www.gvcards.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. CCTVis becoming an integral part of our daily lives.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am all for the CCTV cameras. I am not out committing a crime so I have not problem with them. If they can help stop a crime or catch a criminal I am all for them.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Awesome... Very Interesting.. I love it
    =====================================================

    IPTEC is your complete source for CCTV, IP Camera, Video Door Phones, Network Video Server-NVR, Biometrics Access Control, Access Control, Intruder / Fire Alarm Systems, Alarm Systems, Anti Shop Lifting Systems, Metal Detectors. Through our strategic partnerships with world class manufacturers, we have constructed the most comprehensive catalogue of digital surveillance equipment and other security related products available to dealers and security professionals in the UK.

    ReplyDelete