Sunday, 1 February 2015

Writing - Surveillance society

This should be read in a voice akin to Michael Caine's in his Harry Palmer films. 

'Did you know that there are more than 20 types of traffic cameras?'

The question is when is enough surveillance enough? Every time you set out in a car you are spied on. Your speed is recorded, your photograph is taken and your number plate is checked. Some of the cameras are hidden and linked to sensors in the road; some are handheld; many are either on a post at the side of the road or a gantry under which you pass. There are cameras that are operated by DVLA, by the police or by local authorities some of which are no more than money generating cameras. £284 million was raised from speeding fines last year. Most of the money goes into the treasury.

Some cameras are there to help traffic flow which, judging by the number of traffic jams there are round the country, brings into question the efficacy and intelligence of the people operating them. Other cameras are to help catch criminals.

The Truvelo D camera doesn't need film as it transmits images to a central office wirelessly. This is less dependent on staff and so cheaper to run.

Then there is Trafficmaster which is found in smartphones, satnav systems either purchased separately or in-built in cars. The system is monitored 24/7 by personal assistants and is principally intended for stolen vehicle recovery and passing traffic information to drivers. It is possible for police to obtain a court order to compel the company to hand over data.

Now the above information is only about surveillance to do with traffic. There is also urban surveillance supposedly to help us feel safer, it can be carried out with cameras similar in size and colour to the traffic variety or there are things like the mosquito.

As it says in the picture it has a camera, microphone and may land on you and take a DNA sample. Then of course last Christmas's gadget of choice were personal drones which I wrote about in a previous blog.

There are hundreds of varieties of drone and range from tens of pounds to thousands.

What type of surveillance do you need in the next story that you write?

Next time you take a drive or walk ponder who is watching you!

God Bless