British "Big Brother" Public Facial Recognition

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  1. GA Anderson profile image88
    GA Andersonposted 4 years ago

    I am surprised I missed this. Are you Brits really okay with all those public-monitoring cameras, (I think I have heard one of your districts is the most monitored in the Free World), using facial-recognition software to identify you as you walk and shop on the streets?

    What about you other folks, would you be okay with this in your city?

    Police stop people for covering their faces from facial recognition camera then fine man £90 after he protested
    *His fine was for telling the police to piss off after they weren't satisfied when he produced the identification they asked for.

    By the way, this year is the 70th anniversary of Orwell's 1984.


    1. lovetherain profile image80
      lovetherainposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      What could go wrong?

      1. GA Anderson profile image88
        GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Hello Lovetherain. I think the more important question is "What has gone wrong that folks would be so willing to give up so much liberty? 

        Is more security worth total submission?

        If the government used your household appliances, (the Internet of Things), for the same purposes would the "If you have nothing to hide ..." rationalization still work for you?

        ps. I didn't take that as sarcasm, so if it was ... Bazinga! you got me.


        1. lovetherain profile image80
          lovetherainposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          It was sarcasm lol. Although it really isn't a laughing matter. It's pretty creepy and scary if you as me.

          1. GA Anderson profile image88
            GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            Damn! I need to work on my sarcasm detector.  My sarcasm generator is beyond repair, so I don't even try, but my detector should work.


    2. SheilaMilne profile image92
      SheilaMilneposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Did you read the whole article?

      1. GA Anderson profile image88
        GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Hi SheilaMilne. Yes, I did read the whole article and several others. What point is it that you think I missed?


  2. wilderness profile image93
    wildernessposted 4 years ago

    This brought to mind the claims that Trump has something to hide because he's reluctant to provide all personal financial data.  "If there is nothing to hide, why not give them up?"  "If you have nothing to hide, why worry about cameras?"

    Implicit, of course, is that there is something to hide - there must be or we would be happy to comply and make everything open and public.

    1. GA Anderson profile image88
      GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Trump? Is that you Jake?

      I suspect that 'If you have nothing to hide...' rationalization will be mentioned regarding the innocence of the action. I don't agree with it.


      1. wilderness profile image93
        wildernessposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Neither do I but it seems rather common and least as long as the subject is someone else.

  3. Nathanville profile image92
    Nathanvilleposted 4 years ago

    There is 1 CCTV for every 10 people in Britain, and the average Brit is captured on video about 70 times a day.  Yes we are the most surveillance country in the world.  It might have been a few decades in coming but this is 1984.

    Between 2000 and 2015 the British Government has passed 11 Anti-Terrorism Acts, each building on the previous to strengthen the powers of the Police and Security Forces (GCHQ, MI5 & MI6) to fight Terrorism. 

    However, over half of Local Councils (Local Governments) have misused these anti-terrorism laws to spy on ordinary citizens for minor offences e.g. littering of waste (fly-tipping) etc.  And other Government Departments have also misused these anti-terrorism laws to spy on people who they suspect of fraudulently claiming welfare benefits e.g. catching people on CCTV doing strenuous activities when they claim to be disabled, or people working (self-employed) when they claim to be unemployed etc.

    Also, every car that enters the motorway system is automatically tracked from the start of the journey on the motorway network until the point it leaves the motorway system; for statistical purposes.  The raw data is automatically destroyed shortly after it’s collected, and after the statistics has been collated from it, to prevent the police from gaining easy access to it; with the exception of a matrix built into the software designed to identify potential criminal activity, which is then passed onto the police.

    Facial Recognition software has been around for quite a while now (it’s commonly used on Facebook these days); but in its current format, it’s a time consuming and expensive process for the police when they want to identify or track suspects.  Albeit, it was this technology, in combination with the plethora of CCTVs, that enabled the police to identify and track the two Russians who Poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England last year. 

    Without all the CCTVs the two Russians would never have been linked to the poisoning and subsequently identified.

    As regards what Brits think about it:-

    On the one hand, if you commit a serious crime in public the job for the police of tracking the route you took before and after the event (from CCTV to CCTV), and thus finding you, is made a lot easier.  And the fact you’re caught on CCTV also makes ‘identification’ easier and provides ‘solid evidence’ in a court of law. 

    On the other hand, if you do nothing wrong then you should have nothing to worry about!

    However, there is the question of ‘infringement of privacy’, and the misuse by Local Governments and other Government Departments which has raised questions with the UN and the European Court of Human Rights, who question its legality on the grounds of ‘Infringement of Human Rights’.

    1. GA Anderson profile image88
      GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for your input Nathanville.

      For me, the "if you have done nothing wrong..." rational in exchange for more security doesn't come close to the severity of concern I have for the privacy infringement aspect.

      The thought of your public surveillance acceptance is completely alien to me.


  4. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
    Kathryn L Hillposted 4 years ago

    Perhaps there is an urgent need for this level of surveillance in Britain.
    It is not psychologically sound for the people to have to put up with it, though.
    They put up with it because they trust the reason for the serveillance, I guess.

    “The technology used in Romford forms part of the Met's ongoing efforts to reduce crime in the area, with a specific focus on tackling violence," he added.

    So, what's going on that there is so much crime and violence?

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
      Kathryn L Hillposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      "- rising crime, declining police numbers - is creating enormous strain for forces.
      But it's unclear whether the smaller police workforce is contributing to the growth in violent crime, particularly what the ONS says are the "genuine" increases in knife crime and firearm offences."

    2. Nathanville profile image92
      Nathanvilleposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      You raise some interesting questions Kathryn.

      Background Info:-

      The ONS (Office of National Statistics), who also publish detailed data on the Environment, the Economy and on a wide range of other areas in the UK, can be relied upon as being genuine and authentic.  They are an ‘Independent’ Government Department.  An Independent Government Department in the UK is a Government Department who are ‘only’ answerable to Parliament (not to the Government).  This ensures ‘independency’ of the Government Department from the Government, to guarantee that Governments cannot have influence over the running of the Government Department or massage official data published by it.  All data gathered by the ONS is published to the ‘Public Domain’ for all to see; regardless to whether it’s embarrassing to the Government or not.

      Where confusion can occur is ‘how’ a crime is logged by the police before they hand over the statistics to the ONS e.g. whether a particular police force records a theft of a handbag by someone holding a knife is logged as just robbery, a knife crime or a violent crime etc. (different police forces can record the same crime under different categories, and overtime change the way how crime is categorised).

      As Home Secretary of the Conservative Government between 2010 and 2015, Theresa May significantly cut funding to the police force; and as Prime Minister from 2016 to 2019 she’s continued to oversee the cut in public spending on the police force.  So consequently, over the past 9 years Theresa May has been responsible for cutting funding of the police by 25%. 

      Therefore, not surprising, according to the police; crime (which was on the decline in the UK in 2010) has started to rise again since Theresa May became Home Office Minister in 2010, and her subsequent cuts in public spending on the police force over the last 9 years.

      However, because police-recorded crime is sensitive to changes in recording practices (which can skew statistical trends over time); an annual survey of 38,000 members of the public is conducted to record the public perception of crime in the UK based on their own personal experiences.  According to this separate Crime Survey, based on people's experiences, crime in the UK continues to fall! 

      So when academics are analysing crime trends in the UK they balance the ‘Annual Peoples Crime Survey’ against the Police Official Records published on the ONS (and good luck to them); we Brits love making things difficult for ourselves.  The ‘Annual Peoples Crime survey’ is generally considered a good measure of ‘trends over time’ in crime experienced by individuals because it’s not affected by changes in how crime is recorded.

      One caveat is that although knife crime is on the increase, it should be seen in context.  It's relatively unusual for a violent incident to involve a knife, and rarer still for someone to need hospital treatment because of knife crime.  Most violence in the UK is caused by people hitting, kicking, shoving or slapping someone; often during a fight, and often when drunk e.g. outside nightclubs.

      •    Alcohol Culture: Fight Outside 'Kooky' Nightclub In Doncaster, UK:

      Getting back to your main point:  While (statistically) crime rates in general may not appear to be any better in the UK than in the USA (and in some areas worse), one area that does stand out is that although there were 739 homicides in UK in 2018 (an increase of 14% from the previous year), it’s still insignificant when compared to the 17,284 Homicides in the USA in 2017. 

      As a direct comparison (taking difference of population size into account):-

      •    Recorded Violent Crime:  In the UK is 1,955 per 100,000 population, and 394 per 100,000 in the USA.  Therefore, ‘recorded’ violent crime in the UK is 5 times more prevalent than in the USA.  A high proportion of violent crime in the UK being drunken youths fighting outside of nightclubs.

      •    While in contrast homicides:  In the UK is 1.12 per 100,000 population, and 5.28 per 100,000 in the USA e.g. 5 times more prevalent in the USA than the UK.

      Yes you are right:  The reason we Brits put up with living in 1984 (the film) is that we ‘trust the reason for the surveillance; albeit there is disquiet about the misuse of powers by non-enforcement Agencies e.g. Local Government and Government Departments, for which the powers were not intended.

      For my part, I’d much rather live in a Society where high levels of surveillance are the norm than live in a Society that to a Brit has a reputation of being very much ‘trigger happy’ (wild west).  Although I do appreciate that it is only a perception of the USA that we hold on this side of the pond; and I’m sure that in reality, the USA isn’t entirely as we Brits perceive it!   

      From previous forums, it would seem that a lot of difference in attitudes between Brits and Americans comes down to our ‘Cultural Differences’.

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
        Kathryn L Hillposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        "... crime (which was on the decline in the UK in 2010) has started to rise again since Theresa May became Home Office Minister in 2010, and her

        subsequent cuts in

        *public spending on the police force*

        over the last 9 years."

        Its cheaper to use face recognition surveillance technology!!!!!

        America, beware!!!! yikes yikes yikes

        As soon as we do not allow ourselves the right to bare arms ...

      2. Nathanville profile image92
        Nathanvilleposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        The fact that the British Police are overstretched because Theresa May cut spending on the police force by 25% over the last 9 years may have had a negative effect on crime levels is one issue.  However, there is no direct link between the Conservative Government spending cuts and the police experimenting with face recognition surveillance technology; it’s an avenue the British police would have taken anyway, because of its obvious advantages in solving serious crime.

        A prime example of the importance of CCTV in solving serious crime was the famous Hatton Garden Heist in London in 2016; when four elderly (retired) criminals (the oldest aged 76) stole an estimated £200 million ($300 million) worth of gold, diamonds and jewellery from the safe deposit boxes in the vaults.

        Hatton Gardens is the place in Britain to go if you want to spend serious money to buy jewellery:  It’s a street packed with nothing but jewellery shops from end to end; it’s where my wife and I bought our engagement rings.

        Guide to Hatton Garden:

        The four elderly criminals (part of a gang of eight) were meticulous, and if it wasn’t for the CCTV cameras outside they may never have been caught. 

        A day before the long Easter Bank Holiday weekend (when all the shops would be closed) an electrical cable in a nearby street caught fire under the pavement, and ignited a burst gas main; which took two days to extinguish and caused mayhem as several thousand people were evacuated from nearby offices, and local Theatres had to be closed for the weekend.

        Then the following day (over the Bank Holiday weekend) the gang discreetly entered an adjoining building (with all their equipment) through a lift shaft; and from the basement of the adjoining property, drilled a man-size hole through 2 feet of reinforced concrete into the vaults.

        Hatton Garden: how Britain's biggest heist unfolded:

        The right for Americans to bear arms has nothing to do with crime levels or CCTV surveillance in the UK; we are two completely different cultures with completely different attitudes towards gun violence.  From a British perspective, our streets (and homes) are a lot safer because we don’t have guns in this country.

        The Humorous and Entertaining (but factually correct) Side of Policing in UK vs USA [includes references to gun violence in the USA]:

        1. Nathanville profile image92
          Nathanvilleposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Reference the Famous Hatton Garden Heist mentioned above (paragraph 3rd from bottom); this is the role that CCTV in the UK played in finally capturing 'Basil' the last Criminal in the Gang to be caught:-

  5. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
    Kathryn L Hillposted 4 years ago

    Keep the right to bare arms.

    Yay, guns!

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
      Kathryn L Hillposted 4 years agoin reply to this



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