The revolutionary 'nanny camera' scheme was first piloted in Wiltshire in 2003 and just seven weeks ago the loudspeakers were introduced by Middlesbrough Council, whose spokesman Mike Clark said they had already made a difference.This week is the story concerning the future of cameras in Chicago, one of the US' largest cities:
He said: "People have been shocked when a voice from a camera tells them to pick up sweet papers and cigarette butts. They tend to follow the request.
"Another example involved a number of people gathering outside the doorway of a pub. They were asked to disperse and they did."
Cllr Peach added: "The talking cameras would be another weapon in our armoury. They could be used to crack down on any anti-social offence in the street."
Both stories make casual allusions to "Big Brother" the almost mystical leader of Engsoc in George Orwell's novel 1984. How they can acknowledge the kinship of the emerging surveillance state with Engsoc without screaming of the travesty of it all is beyond me. Yet they drop the phrase Big Brother, as if the words are devoid of any meaning.
"By the time 2016 [rolls around], we'll have more cameras than Washington, D.C. ... Our technology is more advanced than any other city in the world -- even compared to London -- dealing with our cameras and the sophistication of cameras and retro-fitting all the cameras downtown in new buildings, doing the CTA cameras," Daley said.
"By 2016, I'll make you a bet. We'll have [cameras on] almost every block."
Or maybe they are without meaning anymore. With the advent of 'reality' TV shows (one of them named Big Brother, unless I'm mistaken) in which the most private moments of a persons life can be transmitted for the titillation of the viewing audience, perhaps we have become numb to the concept of prying eyes checking up on our every move. Personally, I can't think of a more dangerous tool to place in the hands of gov't.
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
True, crime is down when cameras are placed on the street. It's also a fact that crime goes down when martial law is declared. Crime sort of becomes a moot point when everyone is a prisoner in their own society, when someone is always watching to report the slightest transgression.
Yes, now we can see you.
'You are the dead,' said an iron voice behind them.
They sprang apart. Winston's entrails seemed to have turned into ice. He could see the white all round the irises of Julia's eyes. Her face had turned a milky yellow. The smear of rouge that was still on each cheekbone stood out sharply, almost as though unconnected with the skin beneath.
'You are the dead,' repeated the iron voice.
'It was behind the picture,' breathed Julia.
'It was behind the picture,' said the voice. 'Remain exactly where you are. Make no movement until you are ordered.'
It was starting, it was starting at last! They could do nothing except stand gazing into one another's eyes. To run for life, to get out of the house before it was too late -- no such thought occurred to them. Unthinkable to disobey the iron voice from the wall. There was a snap as though a catch had been turned back, and a crash of breaking glass. The picture had fallen to the floor uncovering the telescreen behind it.
'Now they can see us,' said Julia.