New talking CCTV Cameras condemned
7 February 2012
A new generation of CCTV cameras that automatically warn users to leave have been condemned by privacy campaigners groups.
The cameras located in the Walker House estate near London’s St Pancras, have been installed by Camden Borough Council.
An voice warns users to leave, including residents and legitimate visitors. The pre-recorded message says: "Stop, this is a restricted area and your photograph is being taken. It will be sent for processing if you don't leave the area now."
Nick Pickles, of Big Brother Watch group, condemned the CCTV cameras. "This kind of technology may be acceptable in a police state or a science fiction film, but not in modern Britain", he said.
He added that "The idea that a Robocop recording will tackle antisocial behaviour and crime is as laughable as it is a total invasion of privacy. Who knew councils had the authority to take your photograph simply because you walked into a communal garden?"
Camden council claims the devices will prevent anti-social behaviour and drug-dealing, which it claims has blighted the lives of residents over the last ten years. Home Office crime maps do not show any crimes on the estate in the most recent year for which figures are available.
Almost 2million CCTV cameras are thought to be installed across Britain, and models with loudspeakers connected to guards in a control room were first used in Middlesbrough in 2007. The systems has subsequently been extended across 20 boroughs throughout the country.
A Camden Council spokesperson said that "We do not want to stop people from enjoying their open spaces, just to make these areas safer for those who use them."
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