Naked Citizens

2013 ,    »  -   69 Comments
Ratings: 8.61/10 from 41 users.

In London, every bit of public ground is monitored all the time... every single street. Besides the government, all the different companies and landowners have their own CCTV cameras, so every spot is watched by everybody. In the most monitored city in the world there is one camera for every 14 people. But does this intense surveillance keep Londoners safe?

Photographer Henrietta Williams and cartographer George Gingell have mapped a ring of steel around London's financial district. Forged from automated bollards, security gates and surveillance cameras anyone who enters is registered electronically and anything out of the ordinary triggers security protocols, even seemingly innocuous things, like video cameras.

The police can rely on the private security to jump in before them, so it's like a faster response unit for less money to the government and to the city of London. And in fact in most cases, the streets in the financial district were given to the developers so that they could enact the policy of complete pedestrianisation of the streets and installation of the defense and surveillance against terrorist attack. The surveillance systems are not just simple cameras. Anyone who behaves unexpectedly triggers an alarm. Imperceptibly, humans can observe and evaluate behavior through smart cameras without anyone noticing. If the camera detects an unusual event, the subject is marked.

One of the world's leading scientists behind the development of smart cameras is Professor James Orwell of Kingston University. The systems his team is developing can detect suspicious activity even before a crime occurs. The way is to present large volumes of data over many months, possibly years, and so that enables the system to develop a statistical model of what is normal and maybe what is abnormal, and so then there is automatic flagging of anything that is considered abnormal.

Professor Orwell has been monitoring the University's car park with one of his new cameras. The system is learning normal patterns of behavior. Who leaves, who arrives, and how they act. It is able to measure for how long people are staying in the area, so it can flag if there is some suspicious behavior, for example if somebody is loitering in the area. But the system doesn't perfectly understand human behavior. An individual only needs to linger momentarily before the system flags them as potentially undesirable. In locations were thousands of people pass in front of the camera every day, it's even more difficult for the system to determine what is normal behavior and what isn't.

Are large groups of people simply on their way to work or they're hiding a terrorist? Either way, inaccurate identifications can have serious consequences. The problem is that anyone suspected of crime in UK quickly loses their right to privacy and over the past decade the UK has been constantly seeking new ways to combat the perceived threats of terrorism.

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69 Comments / User Reviews

  1. bringmeredwine

    May haps someone could shoot one of those ridiculous surveillance drones out of the sky?
    Wouldn't that cause a fuss!

  2. Loren light

    If there are cameras everywhere, proving ones innocence is much more likely. It is hard to argue with your actions caught on tape. This transparency will make us a better people.

  3. oQ

    Is anyone ready to give up their phone, car gps, labtop? It would be a start but how much freedom would that take away?

  4. walterr44

    It's hopeless. Privacy is passe. There are too many goliaths and not enough slingshots to end invasive surveillance

  5. Nwttp

    That's under the assumption humans are intrinsically good

  6. Robert Lapierre

    Cameras are not there to prove innocence nor guilt. They are there to
    algorithmically find atypical behaviour in the silly notion that one can
    statistically prove ''intent''. When you are arrested because that day
    you acted differently than the baseline behaviour, cameras will not help
    you prove your innocence.

    Surveillance is about control. The
    ''controllers'' don't care if you get on a list that ''you'' think you
    should not be on. If ever you cannot get a visa, or you have to
    ''explain'' yourself for 48 hours or have to clean up your ''legally''
    ransacked home by the special controllers, you may find that
    transparency will not make you a better person, it will make you a
    miserable controlled person.

  7. Macario Sm

    It should be the other way around, where there would be cameras/microphones inside every government building and in every meeting that concerns the public, so that we the people (who in theory pay for their salaries) can be sure they are doing a proper job. I know it's a naive thought, but what I'm trying to say is that we need transparent governments, not this excessive public surveillance crap.

  8. Jane Doe

    the war machine would crush his neighborhood

    don't give them any excuses!

  9. President_Emil

    "(who in theory pay for their salaries)"
    We practically pay their salaries!!!

  10. WiseGapist

    That is one of the oldest and also most naive arguments concerning the use of surveillance, essentially 'if you're not committing a crime you have nothing to fear from surveillance' or as you put it, it is 'easier to prove your innocence'... There is nothing transparent whatsoever about the system of cameras that capture our daily activities, it is a select group that is in a position to utilise that footage, and that group is an arm of the state carrying out its interests. When the state has a complete grid of surveillance, information, facial recognition and DNA covering the population we will already be living in dystopia or on a fast-track to it.

  11. Macario Sm

    That's true, I was thinking of all that private money that makes it's way into politicians pockets when I wrote that, which is a big part of the problem.

  12. President_Emil

    Also true.
    The politician who is takin g private money is corupt and should be scentenced to 5 years fo jail, like every taxpayer not paying his taxes properly.

  13. Andrew Stokes

    It certainly does keep us safe and helps perpetrators get their just deserts. This is however good fuel for paranoid people (and there seems to be a lot on this site). Dudes, if you aint' doing nothing wrong you usually don't have to worry and please don't start spruiking the exceptions, the exceptions don't break the rule they actually support it - because their exceptions!

  14. Maddestmax

    Weird how there is no political will to do the one thing with video surveilance that would,
    Reduce court costs,
    Help prevent corruption / abuse of power,
    Produce loads of fly on the wall copdocs.

    It's time for copcams

  15. Sieglinde Proctor

    It will get worse before it gets better. Crime has always been around, and spies, and international agents too. While we haven't had terrorism on the level we do now, even surveillance is not going to control it. We can take pictures until our eyes fall out. It doesn't stop drug use, crime, or anything else. But what other reason are they going to sell the Americans on it, if not "It's for your protection."?

  16. charles1957b

    Tell that to the millions of people who had to endure torture, maiming and death at the hands of the Gestapo, Maoist re-education, the Soviet Gulags and the Stasi. Take off your rose colored glasses. You sound like a baffoon.

  17. Macario Sm

    I couldn't disagree more, for the same reasons WiseGapist has mentioned below, this is another step in the wrong direction, perhaps if the surveillance worked both ways (meaning that we could also observe "them") I would almost agree... or maybe not.
    But If people believe this is the only solution for catching/preventing criminal activity than something has gone terribly wrong, and it needs to be studied but in a scientific way to get to the root of the problem, and politicians are useless on this endeavor, they are ignorant and compromised, with very few exceptions, if any.

  18. charles1957b

    Then go tell it to the millions of children and other private citizens worldwide, that we, yes US, have burned to death since the invention of military aircraft and aerial bombing. Get your head out of the refrigerator and see what's going on around you.

  19. Martin Ellacott

    The State will eventually over ride the Rights and Freedoms of the Individual. Initially, it will said to be to protect Society from terrorism....and it will expand from there. It has already begun.

  20. Guest

    I say that because you seem to imply that we live in a goody-two-shoes nation. I'll tell you this, there are none. That is a fiction.

  21. bburke

    Do you really think that these terrorist wouldn't have been caught if the cameras hadn't been there? How did we manage to survive up to this point? Without the cameras? And just how many terrorist have actually been caught because of the cameras?

  22. DigiWongaDude

    Amazing how fast things are changing - things that were totally off limits not even 5 years ago, are already legal, profitable and pervasive. Things that we were told would never happen. We were told by these 'companies' (our service providers and data holders) that they take our privacy very seriously, told that the information they were gathering would only be used to improve the service they provide us and never be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.

    Excuse me but, when did it become acceptable to activate my device, record my movements and use my mic and camera to monitor me? It's not like those promises and guarantees were 50 years ago...or 20 or 10...that was less than 5 years ago. Where will this be in 50??!! Look what they've done in 5 !!

    Was it 2 years ago (?), there was that huge outcry over a piece of software that was doing exactly this, being sneeked on to our phones by many of the big players.... And now...? Yeah all legal, all perfectly acceptable and legitimate. So when did it become open season for companies to invest in these activities openly for profit?

    Clearly our service providers lied and don't have any 'duty of care' over our data or privacy.

    Someone somewhere must have given the green light for this? And it must have happened very recently indeed.

    But if all this isn't worrying enough....still the comments flow that this is all fine and for our own good...lmfao.

  23. oQ

    You'd be better off getting the chip under your skin right away, who knows what could happen to you?

  24. oQ

    Ho my Gosh! you got it right on the nail. I wish this came from the mouth of a very very very well known respected person, if you are one, please please publish!

  25. DigiWongaDude

    ...a picture speaks a thousand words...

  26. Pysmythe

    The very idea... is too brilliant to be implemented.

  27. Pysmythe

    "Make us all obedient and grateful little kitties and puppies forever, our Lord God, we pray. Amen."

  28. Pysmythe

    There is so much wrong with this, I don't even know where to begin. IF you'd like an example of how what you say could turn around to bite you hard on the ass, I'd be happy to provide you one. Otherwise, I'm not even going to bother.

  29. Adam Young

    even the last line of defense for the individual - the emerging US militia movement will be dealt with in 24 hours in a collective sweep involving the temporary regional shutdown of satellite communications ( web, TV,radio and mobile devices ) as to prevent the media seeing what the corporate state is about to do. followed by drone strikes and a quick mop up. the following 48 hours we will see scripted news stories on how the government raids arresting hundreds ( but killing thousands in the process ) of enemies of the state. by the time the few survivors manage to spread the real story, government forces will have done enough damage to the resistance and tipped the balance completely. then all average joe in the street can do is watch as progressively the last of his civil rights and services are removed, ultimately starved out and tomorrows children , the children of the rich will be taught a different version of history. you say " what a fantasy ! " if an administration is prepared to demolish an occupied skyscraper, all in the name of saving a few hundred billion, how far would they go if the people in the street began to threaten their precious lives ?

  30. Pysmythe

    What say I just go ahead and give you a better prayer, why not?

    The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
    He makes me down to lie
    Through pastures green he leadeth me the silent waters by
    With bright knives he releaseth my soul
    He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places
    He converteth me to lamb cutlets
    For lo, he hath great power and great hunger
    When cometh the day we lowly ones
    Through quiet reflection and great dedication
    Master the art of judo
    Lo, we shall rise up
    And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water.

    from 'Sheep' - Pink Floyd / Animals

  31. henrymart81

    At a minimum we need to start electing more politicians who put personal liberties and right to privacy as top priorities. Also all forms of electronic communication should be encrypted.

  32. charles1957b

    I remember them going on several wild goose chases, based on the cameras. The people who were witnesses are what solved this. A person is far better than any random camera shot.

  33. charles1957b

    Read thoroughly on the Gestapo. It wasn't cameras or wiretapping, or the Gestapo thugs that made that organization, ( or more correctly - dis-organization) effective. It was the victims neighbors that turned them in, many for some petty vengeance. Then the thugs took over, harming countless innocent individuals. They had massive warehouses of trivial and insignificant data on everyone they could get the slightest bit of tripe on. "She has more than one boyfriend" etc. etc. That is where we are heading. And if cameras are good, then why do the police and FBI, etc. forbid their use, or smash them, or confiscate them, whenever they see them anywhere near a crime scene? Isn't that a bit unusual, if they are so valuable?

  34. charles1957b

    I agree whole-heartedly. They have been hired solely to represent us.

  35. charles1957b

    I ranted a bit below, but to answer your question directly: I believe the terrorists would have been caught, based on eye witnesses. I also think that the government has been, what is akin to using a blowtorch and burning the house down to get a few pesky roaches. Sure they may get those little buggers, but look at the collateral damage. Any honest, loyal, hard working American citizen that doesn't feel anxious and concerned about this, I say is not paying close enough attention. Those in positions of power throughout history have repeated this route countless times. It's never been very pretty. Some in history have created situations for the sake of obtaining "Absolute Power". That too has occurred countless times. What we can do as citizens is to be loyal and law abiding and most importantly be ever vigilant and be vocal about our findings, both the good and the bad.

  36. bringmeredwine

    Sounds good to me!
    But governments will argue that this would be a security threat if the "terrorists" knew what they were up to.

  37. bringmeredwine

    I'm gonna be in a real pickle!

  38. bringmeredwine

    Some Canadian Senators have been caught stealing tax payers' money, and all they had to do was pay it back-no charges laid.
    It's sickening.

  39. bringmeredwine

    What about that poor man on the doc who was searched and detained for "suspicious" behavior?
    Now his name is on a list and he'll never be able to step on a plane again.
    He didn't do anything wrong.

  40. Macario Sm

    I'm tired of this terrorist boogeyman story, it's an age old device to keep the people paranoid and scared enough so the “storytellers” can push their agendas forward. So for sure they would argue their asses off to push anything that suits their "liking" and that of their corporate buddies, that's the only thing they are good at.
    One important thing to keep in mind is to not see them as above us, but rather as employees of the people. Sadly many people have that father/authority figure view of government and take all that comes out from them as factual truth and make all kinds of excuses for them, in this sense the government would be like the drunk/junkie father that continuously ***** up but hardly ever gets confronted, for fear of a violent reaction, being rejected, or simply hurting the father's "feelings".

  41. a_no_n

    Which would be fine, were it not for the fact that the one time that actually happened, was Wako.

  42. wald0

    I can't speak for London but, the expansion of the surveillance state and executive power coupled with the oppression of our rights to privacy, free expression, and free assembly here in the U.S. has an obvious cause. The growing inequality will eventually spur a revolt, if you review history you see this has always been the case in every location throughout history. When the middle class disappears and all that is left is the very rich and the extremely poor, revolt follows. If you couple this threat with the potential shortage of energy, fresh water, and arable land along with an expanding population- no wonder the government is tightening their grip, expanding their capability to control, expanding the detention and surveillance systems, etc. They see this isn't going to get better in the U.S., the jobs that have been sent out of country are not coming back because if they do they can never compete with the flood of cheap goods coming from china and other places. Because this flood of cheap goods will never get cut off, we can't afford to cut it off for various reasons, you can bet the jobs we lost are gone to stay. With that in mind look around you, do you see any innovation or technology that will create new jobs in America? Nope, we have cut off funding to almost all R&D and adopted the general attitude that investing in things like education and infrastructure are just too expensive right now. Basically this all equals a greater divide between the rich and poor, which always equals more inequality across the board, not just financially, which has always in the past eventually inspired civil violence and unrest culminating ultimately in organized revolt.

  43. DigiWongaDude

    Oops - "...for and by the state." should read:
    "...for and by US interests." Yes, that lovely, loose, all encompassing euphemism.

  44. John Marus

    I totally agree but would extend that statement to all government agencies and corporations, "Dudes, if you aren't doing anything wrong then whistleblowing should be encouraged and protected to the full extent of the law! Furthermore, if you ain't doing nothing wrong, the government and corporation activities should be completely transparent and allow for independent monitors to confirm such." Those frecking paranoid people who work for the "other" side.

    But seriously, someone who is so willing to give away their rights is someone we don't want voting, there's a sucker born every moment and you Mr. Andrew Stokes are one of those. Excuse me, but that's not what my copy of the constitution says...

  45. John Marus

    I'm going full tard on this one! Great documentary, where's the one-stop-shop for the consumer so they can protect themselves?

  46. lex lexich

    how can someone organize revolt if everything is being monitored (in human communication- internet, cell phones, cctv, and satelites)... we don't have the right to revolt anymore, that war is lost, the age of 'robots' has begun

  47. AJF13

    I wouldn't say that is completely true. I mean successfully carrying out protests and revolts all over. Arab spring, London riots, Greece and many more like occupy. The technology just works both ways it can be abused by governments as a means of control but is also used by those who wish to organise against it. Many of the riots and revolutions I spoke of couldn't of happened without the use of technologies you talk about.

  48. AJF13

    Also you never have nor will have the 'right to revolt' I don't mean to sound like I am being a d*ck but that is kind of the point of a revolt. You don't ask permission.

  49. AJF13

    I agree I feel that all governments to differing degrees are preparing for the inevitable. Again I feel ridiculous to say revolt is inevitable but as you pointed out this is historically true that as the disparity between rich and poor grows the likelyhood of revolt grows nearer. I would like to think the government will step in and deal with this crisis of morality in our economic institutions. I read that the tax havens are estimated to contain around $30 Trillion only time will tell if our representatives will actually tackle the problem. If they don't I guess the answers will be clear about whether our establishments really are as corrupt as some believe. I sincerely hope not.

  50. pwndecaf

    Gotta give a thumbs up to a Pink Floyd reference. I have that album in digital format - no disc or record, thus no lyrics. I will listen closely next time. I like the ending better than the Psalm version.

  51. runnysplack

    That would be ideal wouldn't it? To elect those with strong minds and loving hearts to rule instead of the power hungry creatures of today. Unfortunately, that will never happen and history speaks for itself. The problem isn't in government, the problem is government.

  52. Pysmythe

    That whole masterful album being an indictment of capitalism and the elitism and mass-control it fosters, I thought it was pretty relevant. 'Animal Farm' satirizes Stalinism, and 'Animals' does "its opposite". To me, both systems seem thoroughly piggish enough, doggone it, even if one is worse than the other... Just don't ask me what Utopia is, if it isn't a reasonable facsimile of Star Trek! :) [ that is, worldwide cooperation in the endeavor of space colonization.]
    That Waters was one hell of a lyricist, wasn't he? Not bad at all for 1977...

  53. Alexandra Jane

    As much as it is intrusive, I personally think in a way, it's a good thing. It helps deter criminals or catch them in the act. Albeit sometimes the police are very ignorant of the law - someone caught on cctv someone breaking into their house, but due to not knowing the criminals name, the police dropped it, which is of course bad policing. That said, not ALL roads, streets etc are filmed. Plenty of back alleys are not, and that is where a lot of crime does happen.

  54. lex lexich

    it is true that on the surface technology works both way, it is easier to send facebook message than talking to ppl, but deep down that is the problem, such 'connections' are week and easy to manipulate and destroy, it just makes us flash mob of some sort, no true revolutionaries there...

  55. goodkat

    This is seriously bad, and it's getting worse. Who'd put a child into a world like this?

  56. Macario Sm

    I know you mean well, but the "authorities" can no longer be trusted. The worst criminals, the ones who have been waging wars killing millions and condemning countless people to generations of PTSD, making a dump out of our beautiful planet, ripping off entire countries, etc etc, they are not on street alleys, they are on positions of power and wear suits and uniforms. What kind of role models do we have on top of our socioeconomic structures? no we don't have intelligent and caring people, instead we have these narcissistic psychopaths who behave like a mafia, what kind of example are they setting for the rest of the population?

    Most street crime is a consequence of this flawed system, where people are frustrated+uneducated and possibly have grown (and still live) in an unfavorable environment, so they don't know any better, they don't have the emotional and intellectual resources to understand their situation let alone improve it. Over monitoring people, besides invading our privacy, it doesn't guarantee anything, the problem needs to be tackled at it's root cause, it's an educational (in it's widest sense) problem.

  57. Viktor Klou?ek

    Seriously, profesor Orwell? WTF. Who is his superior? Ing. Hitler?

  58. Sara Jasper

    Am I the only one that finds it ironic that this professor shares a last name with the man who wrote 1984?

  59. AchillesMRF

    What it does is provide evidence in future cases. It doesn't stop criminals or the criminal acts. All they need to do is wear a baseball hat or hood. False sense of security.

  60. AchillesMRF

    I would rather have the privacy and take my chances.

  61. AchillesMRF

    That is the wonderful thing about humans, their is no normal behaviour. I sometimes feel we are living in the prequel to A Brave New World. Where is the accountability with a camera. They can make your life h*ll and then shrug and blame the computer.

  62. AchillesMRF

    How can the cops hack and I would get time for the same thing. This is ridiculous.

  63. Plurb

    In the U.K you are a SUBJECT. In the U.S.A. you are a Free Citizen, according to the Constitution. Every 200-250 years sometimes sooner, like in 1860 some blood must be spilt to remind the rest of the world of this FACT!

  64. Jacek Walker

    Not only that. We OVERPAY their salaries!

  65. Jacek Walker

    Yes, the father figure complex sadly shows how immature our society still is.
    A deep psychological problem. Thousands of years of religious indoctrination are to be blamed to very large extend.

  66. annastine

    His pen name was George Orwell but the author's real name was Eric Arthur Blair.

  67. working4change

    I for one have Button cams and if a cop or anyone ever tries anything, if i defend myself or not it is all on cam with sound.

    Think of it as this, they spy on us without us giving the authority to do so. Some APPOINTED Czar created a "regulation" extending many of the surveillance laws and we have no recourse.

    Everyone should carry their own cameras on them now a days. there are enough to catch just about everything we do anyhow. just not in our control. THEY edit the videos to fit their needs. THEY use Video to hurt us and take away our rights. I for one am sick of this BS and if anything happens to me or anyone i get on video getting hurt, i can help. If they use parts of a video or tape to incriminate without the before and after it is Illegal but they get away with it every day.

    Yes i hate Video, Social Media is Evil and most of this new tech. lol I have been in Tech sense with 1980 have had every form of PC sense the first batch of Apples. yep the First batch without the apple logo on them. :) up to current tech. been selling SSD drives sense 1994 same year i got my first Tablet. lol APPLE did not invent s*it, they only created a LOOK! JOBS never invented one single piece of TECH he was the FACE of APPLE not the Brain behind the goods. His genius was creating the MYTH about him and his company. They used to be the best on Tech BEFORE they joined with Intel and did this Tablet minimalistic crap.

    Back to the point! lol i had to do that little rant lol

    We should be able to go to them and put those officers and official in JAIL with Proof we have on them. No more waiting for them to find proof.

    Get a button cam! Go and do what you feel is right within the LAW and when they shut you down you can put them in jail for their crimes. Put cams in front of your home and in your cars. When people drive crazy you have it on tape if needed. But dont forget if you are out of line you can put yourself in jail just as easy.

    Keep a level head and stand up! Barry aka BHO and his ILK need to be removed at any cost as long as it is legal!!! nothing stupid!!! If you want to change the world, we can one action at a time.

  68. Wolf Baginski

    If there is one person in the British system I am prepared to trust, it's the Queen. There is a sense of her being a real person. The trouble is that the problem in the system is the other people. From all the accounts I have read, and from my own experiences, the people who make problems for ordinary people are much the same in both our countries. There is something pernicious about being a cop. Not everyone in that trade falls, but those that do certainly get remembered, and strongly influence the image that we have, and which we base our actions on.

  69. Vitt

    In the USA you are a voluntary slave with your body being up for grabs in the international banking system. The people of the United States are finally what was put up as collateral to cover all the debt. I know it sounds crazy but just check out the United States Corporation of 1871. You'll get the right idea then. Canadians have it even worse... they are sold as American securities. Being a UNITED STATES CITIZEN and being an American are two very different things when delving into the legal wordplay they use.

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