How useless are cctv cameras?
One of the things our South Sudanese friend has found very puzzling about the UK is all the notices about cctv cameras, and how you are being surveyed for your own safety, etc etc .
Quite reasonably too. Just imagine how mad/sinister our own surveillance culture would look from anywhere else on the planet.
That said, the one good thing about the whole camera culture is that it is, by and large, so inefficient. I remember years ago that there was a nice full page spread in the Cambridge News with camera mug shots of local villains, who were either clear as day, but unrecognisable on any list of criminals -- or blurry and equally unrecognisable (whether on a list or not).
And you couldn't want a clearer indication of how useless cctv cameras are than the sequel to Plebgate.
Here I have to acknowledge the husband's line. Whatever the truth, he has never thought that the basic police/press account of the Andrew Mitchell story quiteadded up. Where were these witnesses to the notorious slurs, he asked?
Well never mind the other evidence, now we know that the cctv cameras in Downing St are too low resolution to identify anyone, and there is no sound recording. The most terrorist sensitive place in the country and the systems are useless?
The truth is that we libertarians are rather relieved at this hopelessness (thank god the cameras are so dead useless, else civil liberties would really be under threat). But do we really mean to say that some moneymaking company has put cameras in Downing Street that can't identify a potential villain? At what cost? And where was all this evidence of plebgate for the last two months?
I dont hold any brief for A Mitchell (far from it), but I do begin to wonder what we think we know he said, and whether it could possibly be true.