Big Brother is watching!
If you follow news from Britain, you may know by now of its propensity for closed-circuit TV surveillance cameras, especially in the major cities. There is one for every 14 people, or more than in all of continental Europe combined. Some of this is the result of terrorist attacks – or, more recently, foiled attacks – but some also is due to the interest in cutting down on ordinary street crime. Even if the offense is nothing more serious than exceeding the speed limit in one's car. Consider, for instance, Holloway Road in north London. No fewer than 109 cameras peer down on its two-mile length from utility poles, storefronts, and even a church. In one 650-yard stretch alone, 29 cameras monitor everything within view. For civil liberties groups such as Watching Them Watching Us, that's excessive. Says WTWU spokesman Mark Dziecielewski: "Having so many cameras in one place actually makes police investigations harder, because they have to divert so much manpower to checking footage" from each one. Besides, he claims, hoodlums may leave an area where cameras have been installed. But they return once the novelty has worn off. So, all those cameras on Holloway Road: Are they doing any good? Not much, apparently. Police told the Daily Telegraph that over a recent six-month period, 430 crimes had been logged there – 76 of them felonies.