FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Talking" Surveillance Cameras Scold Bad Behavior

Big Brother is not only watching you... he's publicly reprimanding you, too.

Residents of cities in the US and Europe have gotten used to surveillance videocameras that allow law enforcement to watch the streets. But in Middlesbrough in the UK, cameras are now fitted with loudspeakers through which control room operators can scold people for anything from littering to fighting.

Says camera manager Jack Bonner, "It is one hell of a deterrent. It's one thing to know that there are CCTV cameras about, but it's quite another when they loudly point out what you have just done wrong. Most people are so ashamed and embarrassed at being caught they quickly slink off without further trouble." Bonner notes that operators are instructed to address people politely.

Naturally, the cameras are controversial, with those who argue that they are no substitute for police on the beat, and those who worry about the psychological effects on a populace that is not only being watched constantly, but also publicly judged and corrected.

Source: Daily Mail