How would you like to come home after a long day of work and be monitored in your own home? Does that bring up memories of Big Brother from George Orwell’s 1984? Disturbing isn’t it? But it turns out Britain implemented a plan to do just that.
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) (basically security cameras) are very common in the UK after experiments in the 70’s and 80’s deemed them a good idea. In 2002 It was estimated that there was one CCTV camera per person in the UK with that figure probably increasing to incredible amounts. This many camera's coupled with Biometric Face recognition software create an incredibly powerful system that could easily track people.
Not content to have cameras just about everywhere on July 23, 2009 the then current Children’s Secretary Ed Balls implemented a program to install CCTV in 20,000 problem homes. The cameras would be installed in the homes of problem families to monitor them and make sure the kids went to school, ate proper meals and went to bed on time.
I don’t know about you but this seems like a huge invasion of privacy. One clever graffiti artist known as Bansky made the mural you see above ironically right under a CCTV camera.
There is some good news however; today the government in the UK announced that they will be having a “New Consultation on Code of Practice for CCTV.” In this consultation they will allow members of the public to express their opinions on CCTV and they will lay out standards on how the CCTV feeds are to be used. This Consultation is hardly upstream engagement since the technology is already in wide use, but it is a step in the right direction.
So what do you think about all of this? Would you appreciate being monitored by the government 24/7? Is Orwell's Novel coming true?