U.K. Big Brother to Citizens: "Oi you, stop that"

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From the Daily Mail:

Britain's first 'talking' CCTV cameras have arrived, publicly berating bad behaviour and shaming offenders into acting more responsibly.

Littering, bikes in pedestrian areas, and other anti-social behaviors are being targeted. Don't worry, though:

The control room operators have been given strict guidelines about what commands they can give. Yelling 'Oi you, stop that', is not permitted.

Plus:

'We always make the requests polite, and if the offender obeys, the operator adds 'thank you'. We think that's a nice finishing touch."

Camera-happy Brits also learned today that it's easy to avoid getting caught speeding by smart cameras–all they have to do is change lanes.

More on surveillance cameras here and here.

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  1. Yeah, but Hitler would’ve been worse!

  2. Hitler drove too fast?

  3. Eric II, don’t you think apologizing profusely for that last remark would be a good idea? Especially before I call our newly-armed coppers?

    In fact, I think crawling around on all fours and speaking in a Scooby Doo voice would be sufficient to prove your sincerity. Thank you.

  4. You’ve got to be kidding me.

  5. Does the UK have a libertarian party? Perhaps they could switch their name to the 1984 party. I bet they’d get more votes.

    From where I sit on this side of the “pond”, the UK’s good intentions on passing a zillion big brother laws designed “for your own good…and the children too” is setting the stage for someone without good intentions to get into office during a future crisis and to use all of that statist apparatus to become a malign totalitarian society instead of a merely benign one.

  6. For a throwaway comedy, “Demolition Man” may become the most relevent movie of the 20th century. This is not a good thing, on many levels.

  7. In fact, I think crawling around on all fours and speaking in a Scooby Doo voice would be sufficient to prove your sincerity. Thank you.

    Well, if the alternative is going to a British prison, and thus having to eat British cooking, that’s ok with me.

  8. Is it a crime to tell one of those talking cameras to fuck off? Would one of our British friends please do that for me? Much obliged.

  9. This is a bit of topic. But does anyone else think that undercover police street patrollers are just as stupid of an idea as these cameras. I mean, what is the police department’s primary purpose to collect tax revenues through ticketing or to ensure safety. Im guessing its the latter, so why the need for undercover police cruiers? I think safety is ensured much better with a clearly marked car with a big cherry on top, everyone around sees it and slows down, hence a ‘safer’ situation. Where as an undercover cruiser’s (and police here go to great length, to buy the latest cars and then hide pop-up or concealed lights) only purpose is to give more tickets. This unmarked vehicle jumps out of some dark corner and catches some inatentive yokel, while the rest of the cars keep on speeding by, counting their blessings that it wasnt them.

    P.S. Here radar detectors are illegal, suposedly because they interfere with Police’ ability to give out tickets. I wonder if walls and door locks also cause the police some grief. And as the latest tour-de-force our PD might be getting Segways for patrolling the downtown bar scene…their reasoning…”Can you imagine having to run or pedal or couple blocks…..”

  10. Yelling ‘Oi you, stop that’, is not permitted.

    Let’s say they have a Rabbi manning the camera. Would “Oy, stop that” be allowed?

  11. I did some driving around the UK recently and saw all the signs for speed cameras. I’m still wondering if it’s going to turn out that I was ‘stopped’ for speeding somewhere along the line and the rental car company will try to collect the fine.

  12. When Penn Jillette discussed on his radio show law enforcement use of CCTV in public, he was amenable to the ideas long as they make the feeds from the cameras available to the general public in addition to law enforcement. I don’t believe he originated the idea, but I found the concept agreeable. I think I like the idea of being able to harass strangers via long distance even more.

  13. Cool…mount a gun on the camera and you have instant justice! oh wait, it’s not about justice is it? Mount a debit card reader on the camera. Now we’re talking criminal charges…

  14. val,

    I have had the exact same thought about undercover traffic patrols. More effective at raising revenue rather than slowing drivers down.

  15. I have always wanted to mount a loudspeaker system on my car.

    “Hey, *******! Are those signal lights just for decoration or did you miss that day in driver’s school?”

    “I see you flashing your lights behind me, but I don’t give a rat’s *** if you want to do 160 klicks. The limit’s 110 & I’m 20 klicks over it already. Let me get past the geezer in the right lane and then you can go and have an accident all by yourself.”

  16. “Hey lady, tuck in your belly, would ya? And dress for your body type, fattie!”

  17. The tactical advantage to blending unmarked with unmarked cruisers is that a motorist pulled over and ticketed by an unmarked crusier — and witnesses — are expected to remember that he’s always under potential surveillance, and thus with no extra overhead, the imagined unmarked crusier supervises him forever.

  18. M,

    I understand the reasoning behind unmarked patrols, but I disagree with it. If all the cruisers were marked, I think it would be a more effective deterrent. The odds are that there is no cop car anywhere in my vicinity if I don’t see one. I drive accordingly. If I notice a state trooper every 5 miles on the expressway, or even every 10, I’m slowing down.

    (The truth is that I just paid my 2nd speeding ticket in the last 6 months. I have slowed down regardless. I don’t recall if either one was marked, but it didn’t matter – both times I was caught as part of a big operation with 6 or 7 troopers in marked and unmarked cars, and even a motorcycle patrolling a 2 or 3 mile stretch of tollroad.)

  19. I meant “unmarked with marked cruisers”.

  20. high –

    Still speaking only tactically rather than philosophically, doesn’t the belief that undercover police are patrolling — whether on sidewalks, in department stores, on subways, on planes — make citizens more wary of being caught breaking the law?

    If you knew for certian that only marked cruisers threatened to compromise your driving practices, wouldn’t you be more likely to drive less obediently once you were out of their view? Especially at age, say, 17?

    Plato invoked the story of the Ring of Gyges to illustrate this.

  21. Big Brother is alive and well and taking over england whata mess

  22. M,

    In my experience, no. The odds are still greater that there are no cops around, no matter what you are doing. Even 17 year olds are smart enough to know that. Cameras, on the other hand, would be a much more effective method, because it would make the cops effectively omnipresent. Unmarked cars imply that they might be anywhere at anytime, but we know they probably aren’t.
    There are instances that call for undercover investigators, of course, but for simple things like traffic enforcement, I say it’s a revenue generator.
    Bah, let’s disagree. Cops like to drive the unmarked cars, so they’re going to do it anyway.

  23. They could have comics guest star as the voices. Imagine Austin Powers yelling at everyone walking past.

    Gaijin has a point. There could be the day that cursing in public could result in the fine automatically being deducted from your bank account via your RFID enabled national ID card. It’s the natural evolution. As these cameras become popular, the need to identify who you’re looking at is the next step. Then, why chase them down or send them a fine when the technology is in place to just deduct the fine in real time.

    Big Brother would be so proud.

  24. It’s one thing to be told to stop fighting over a speaker, but if I hear laughter the next time I’m fumbling with the three seashells, they will have crossed the line.

  25. Bah, let’s disagree. Cops like to drive the unmarked cars

    Bah, let’s. Because I’m trying to imagine what satisfaction those mufti-phile cops derive from doing something ineffectual, unless they really prefer not to make arrests. Bah. Bah.

    And even if induced paranoia infects only a tiny fraction of drivers, that number is still higher than zero, so that those few who respond better to their own omnipresent shadows than to the rare constabulary outcropping will drive more legally than they otherwise would.

    Bah?

  26. I should have said “who respond as well or better than” and “than to fear of the rare constabulary outcropping”

    I’d veered to avoid a squirrel.

  27. Bah?

    Bah, as in there are other, more interesting things to think about. “Bah” is closely related to “meh,” and is not to be confused with the homophone “baa,” which is the sound that sheep make.

    Because I’m trying to imagine what satisfaction those mufti-phile cops derive from doing something ineffectual, unless they really prefer not to make arrests.

    Juh?
    Undercover traffic cops write tickets, I just don’t think they prevent speeding as well as marked cars.

    Mufti-phile?

  28. I have to put this up on this thread:

    I’m running down the backstreet
    Oi! Oi! Oi!
    I’m running and I’m free
    Oi! Oi! Oi!
    Cos we all know that’s the sound of the streets

    Courtesy of Cockney Rejects

  29. high –

    Multiple apologies for carelessly inciting you to ‘splain.

    My interrogative Bah wasn’t from consternation, it was just hitting the ball back in a tone consonant with your modulated esteem of the topic.

    Because I’m trying to imagine what satisfaction those mufti-phile cops derive from doing something ineffectual, unless they really prefer not to make arrests.

    Juh?
    Undercover traffic cops write tickets, I just don’t think they prevent speeding as well as marked cars.

    I and the cops believe that the mix of overt and covert intelligence has the best prospect of deterring crime. I mean, independent initiative.

    Mufti-phile?

    -phile as the suffix meaning “lover of,” and mufti as in http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-muf1.htm

    But “Juh” is unfamiliar to me.

    Safe driving!

  30. M,

    -phile as the suffix meaning “lover of,” and mufti as in…

    I was merely questioning your dredging up of the word “mufti,” not its definition. Have you been hanging with decrepit British soldiers, veterans of the Raj perhaps?

    Remember, you can drive 55.

  31. Gee, Mom, all the goths say mufti, why can’t I?

    I guess Juh is an old punk term for Raj.

    Modernity is so complex. 55 = way too fast for me.

  32. They could have comics guest star as the voices. Imagine Austin Powers yelling at everyone walking past.

    “Oh, behave!”

  33. Said it before, say it again: living in the modern “First World” is becoming increasingly indistinguishable from having paranoid schizophrenia. Disembodied voices now not only carp at us from inanimate objects, but specifically address us and what we’re doing.

    BTW, anybody want to place bets on how long it will be until the first cop is caught abusing these, just like the ones who were using the steerable cameras to watch girls?

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