Nanny State

England's Green and Surveilled Land


The BBC has some pretty graphics charting, on the basis of information from various UK municipalities, the growth of CCTV on Airstrip One. It's not pretty:

One of the most dramatic revelations is that both the Shetland Islands Council and Corby Borough Council—among the smallest local authorities in the UK—have more CCTV cameras than the San Francisco Police Department….

The borough of Wandsworth has the highest number of CCTV cameras in London, with just under four cameras per 1,000 people. Its total number of cameras—1,113—is more than the police departments of Boston [USA], Johannesburg and Dublin City Council combined.

The kicker: This follows the revelation that there are "almost one million fewer CCTV cameras in the UK than previously thought."

Also, check out this Beeb video on the ambiguities of CCTV—how many cameras there are, how effective the system is at stopping and solving crimes, and how large the opportunity cost of surveillance spending is.

Link via Boing Boing.

Reason has been onto this surveillance thing for a while. Senior Editor Radley Balko blogged about a CCTV music video last year, and Brendan O'Neill wrote about the (British) right to "excessively noisy sex" for Reason in May. Way back in 1997, Brian Taylor wrote about the arrival of limey-style CCTV in America.