Friday, February 27, 2009
Big Brother Coming To Pub Near You
I find that Nanny's latest surveillance plan, to install CCTV in all pubs, clubs, restaurants and off-licences, fills me with abject horror.
The police are telling those who run pubs and restaurants etc that they will not support their licensing applications, unless they agree to install CCTV. The police also want to be able to requisition any CCTV footage, as and when they deem it necessary.
This latest manifestation of "1984" is being applied in the London boroughs of Islington and Richmond. Other forces are trying it on too, eg Essex Police asks that every licensed premises in the county open beyond 11pm should have CCTV cameras that take head shots of customers coming into the building.
Precisely why do the police need to have records of innocent people's comings and goings to restaurants and clubs?
What controls will be exercised over the surveillance tapes by the owners of the clubs, and indeed the police (if they requisition them)?
Why do law abiding, and trouble free, establishments need these devices?
David Smith, the deputy Information Commissioner, is not at all happy:
"Hardwiring surveillance into pubs raises serious privacy concerns.
Installing surveillance in pubs to combat specific problems of rowdiness and bad behaviour may be lawful, but blanket measures where there is no history of criminal activity is likely to breach data protection requirements. "
What use is a grainy, poor quality, picture in preventing a crime occurring?
Wouldn't there be less crime if there were more real police officers on the beat?
This is a nasty and dangerous plan, which should be opposed at all levels.
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