UK: Government planning to become Peeping Tom

img XRay According to UK daily newspaper The Sun the UK Home office is currently planning to put x-ray like devices that could snap “naked” pictures of passers-by into lampposts or otherwise cover public space.

While the idea here – as usual – is to trap terror suspects and identify people carrying weapons or explosives, it is unclear how controls or accountability for the use of such systems can be implemented.

Officials claim one solution would be to allow only women to monitor female subjects. How this can be done on a public square sounds rather optimistic to us.

People living in the UK are today already on average captured 300 times per day by more than 4 million surveillance cameras and some councils are currently testing solutions with a human “big brother” that barks instructions / commands to citizens through cameras equipped with speakers plus microphones e.g. when (s)he sees them littering the streets while monitoring public space.

The new system uses Terahertz radiation to “peep” through cloths and was developed with DERA (the UK equivalent to the US DARPA) funding. Similar systems are already used by custom officers at airports and UK Police also uses similar equipment to search people for drugs and weapons in nightclubs.

While we do very well understand the need of government forces to use the best equipment and their wish to provide the best possible service, such drastic cuts into civil rights need to be balanced with adequate controls.

That this unfortunately is not always the case is shown by rumors circulating since years in the U.S. that certain law enforcement systems have already been nicknamed “The dating database”. The rumors go on that the surveillance data from these systems has routinely been used by some officers to set up rendezvous for themselves with attractive female “suspects“.

A more recent case is reported from Swedish passport control officers that collected passport photos captured from “Beautiful women” and created what they called their “Britney Temple‘ – shown around and admired by others.

So Brits, get out your sexy underwear – and don’t leave home without it!

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(1) Comment »

One Response to “UK: Government planning to become Peeping Tom”

  1. Herbert Bauer Says:

    There is a new documentary about video surveillance (CCTV) in Britain coming out, and this time, the topic seems to be covered in a more critical way. There’s a trailer online: