Portsmouth invests money in mother of big brother….

December 11, 2008 by stanza Leave a reply »
Copyright Image by Stanza

Copyright Image by Stanza. From Stars Of CCTV Series of artworks.

Our social  agenda and relationship to city space is being driven,  “re-designed”; re engineered without thought by local councillors and policemen who are creating a society of mistrust. Haven’t they got something better to  spend money on , ie schools, education, buses  etc etc These guys just don’t seem to know what to  spend the council tax money on  so they keep  buying  and investing in CCTV.

Anti-social behaviour has become a familiar sight in some towns and cities across the country.

Now there’s a new weapon in the fight against it called Smart CCTV. Portsmouth City Council is the first, and so far only, local authority in the UK to try out the new system. It’s a computer programme that has been integrated into the city’s existing network of 152 cameras and has been programmed to spot unusual behaviour in places and at times when it’s not expected. For example, a speeding car being driven around an empty car park could be a joy rider or someone running through a deserted shopping precinct late at night might be a vandal.

When those and similar scenarios are ‘spotted’ by the software, using special parameters from programmers, an alarm is sounded which alerts CCTV operators to that particular camera.

It’s already been used in parts of seven cities across America, in places like New York and Washington DC, where the feedback has been positive. Nick Hewitson helped design the version Portsmouth City Council is using.

He said: “It filters out all the rubbish video that you don’t want and lets you see the stuff that you do want. “So you’re using human beings for doing what they do well, making subjective decisions on incomplete data.

“And using computers to do what they do well, process tonnes and tonnes of boring data.”

But not everyone in Portsmouth is as convinced by the new system as Ray Stead and Nick Hewitson.

Samilia Narcho, 19, told Newsbeat: “They are lurking a bit too much into people’s business. It’s a bit unfair on people who aren’t doing anything wrong. “It’s a bit too much invasion of privacy. Big Brother going a bit too far.”

But 18-year-old Chris isn’t worried about being watched. He said: “It doesn’t really bother me because I’m not doing anything wrong, so I’ve got nothing to worry about.” Berry, who’s 24, and 21-year-old Becky Pearson have different opinions on the new CCTV system. Berry said: “I think it’s pretty good because there are a lot of idiots in Portsmouth and they need to be kept under wraps.”

Becky added: “I can see why people think it’s a bit too much, with people being too watched.” The Smart CCTV technology is on trial in Portsmouth but if it proves successful, other UK cities could set up similar systems.

So after the councils lost your money which was “invested” offshore in icelandic banks…now  they are investing in developing new software  for CCTV cameras. Basically Portsmouth is investing your money in mother of big brother….and the best sort of reporting the BBC  can come up  with is from chris  “But 18-year-old Chris isn’t worried about being watched. He said: “It doesn’t really bother me because I’m not doing anything wrong, so I’ve got nothing to worry about.”……either read a little history  or read a little science fiction  because I think there is plenty here to worry about Chris.

So the question is what sort of society do we want to live in twenty years?

Yes good idea lets go for the one where we don’t trust anyone at all, and have to monitor  everyone, everywhere, all the time…..brilliant idea….I wish I had thought of that.  But then again if I had a software company or CCTV system  I  would send my sales team be straight down to the local council to sell these idiots these systems too.


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