Thursday, May 17, 2007

CCTV and SpyBlog.

On Tuesday I drove out to my in-laws to watch a BBC programme on surveillance cameras (CCTV). It was a very disappointing experience.

The programme was one hour of pro-CCTV propaganda (and I don't use the word propaganda lightly!). The programme was billed as a documentary but never engaged seriously or critically with the information presented. Neither academic researchers nor critics of the extensive use of CCTV were given much time or voice on the programme, nor did the programme present any empirical evidence of CCTV's effect on crime and anti-social behaviour. Instead we were presented with anecdotal evidence, in the form of CCTV footage and tales of solved crimes, to back up police claims to the effectiveness and necessity of CCTV.

For a more detailed analysis of the programme and the way CCTV is presented in the media see this article on


At 21 May, 2007 12:27, Blogger karlund said...

Yesterday I watched the show "PS" or "Politic Show" on BBC. It had a showcase on CCTV and surveillance. The show did present a middle of the road view on CCTV. They had even interviewed a Police representative who claimed that the amount of cameras was starting to be disturbing, and that civil liberties could be indangered...

At 21 May, 2007 16:52, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Thanks, I've now seen the program on the Web. Its good that someone is at least is speaking up against exisive surveilance. I also found it kind of ironic that they had David Blunket defending visual surveillance!

The main problem with surveillance in the UK is not just the all intrusive CCTV's and other methods of electronic surveillance, but the lack of regulation. While PS questions how far surveillance should be allowed to go, they unfortunately didn't raise the question of how present and future surveillance should be regulated. PS quickly moved on to the next important question in the show: whether to many or too few street trees were being cut down!

At 30 May, 2007 13:41, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a much more critical new documentary about video surveillance (CCTV) in Britain coming out, and this time, the topic seems to be covered in a much more balanced way. There’s a quite promising trailer online:


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