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Dr Who villain spotted in London


Well, not quite. But if you’re one of the hundreds of people who enjoys the odd lunch in Soho Square you’ll be able to see this near the entrance to Greek Street.

It’s a directional microphone, to go with the CCTV camera. Seven of these are already in place around Soho, (there’s a small prize to the first person to give the location of the other six) with more planned over the summer.

Now Westminster Council say these mics are only going to be activated once noise reaches illegal levels but think about it. You’re a security guard spending all day watching the streets and directing police to the odd pickpocket or mugger. You’re not even going to be tempted to check out what those two are laughing about?

I can think of no rational argument against reasonable use of CCTV. There’s just something in me that loathes it with a passion, it grates to be recorded without permission. Now it seems even conversations aren’t private.

May 8, 2005 | Permalink


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Surely it is illegal to record a conversation without permission.

I thought the police had to get Home office approval to do things like tapping a phone line, and this must fall in tha same category ?

Posted by: Tony Boreham | 12 May 2005 16:52:21

People should stand under it and plan ficticious murders and bank robberies etc.
At least you can tell them to fuck off face to face as it where.
Its enough to make people paranoid.

Posted by: tony | 12 May 2005 17:12:30

Yes it is actually ILLEGAL to record someone without prior consent. Westminister Council are breaking the law by installing microphones in public places and should be brought to task by the Metropolitan Police!! But guess what?? The Met will just go on persecuting motorists, it's far easier!!

Posted by: Chris Bassett | 12 May 2005 17:47:50

It seems Tony has made a good point for the Mike with his offensive language. Many vunerable people would welcome technology to protect them. Unless you have something to hide what's the problem

Posted by: Graham | 12 May 2005 18:36:35

While I'm against the camera/mike set-up in principal, it should be noted that ANYTHING said or done IN PUBLIC is fair game for being recorded in some fashion! If you are not a wanted person, and/or you are not doing anything wrong/improper/illicet, what are you afraid of? To intentionally stand in a position to be seen/heard by the camera/mike set-up AND mouthing off or "planning" something to bring their (the guard dogs, et al) attention upon oneself is not recommended! If they record you planning something, they have no way of knowing that you are doing a prank! If you are detained and brought to court, the judgement WILL be against you, even if only for court costs, fines etc. Consider ALL possible consequences before bringing down the wrath of the Magistrates upon oneself! (How much time can You afford to be detained, spend going court, etc? Do You REALLY want to be a test case?)

Posted by: Rick | 12 May 2005 23:28:13

Why do you have to have something to hide to think privacy worth protecting? Maybe some of us think some things are our own business not some else's? And who is to decide whether what we have is worth hiding anyway?

Posted by: froggy | 16 May 2005 15:28:36

If there was just one camera in the country, I would be wary of being caught on film, but with cameas everywhere, it becomes logistically impracticable to look at everything captured, meaning that the people who are recording shall concentrate on the stuff they need to look at, such as illegal activity.

The same logic applies to microphones.

Posted by: Cruithne | 6 Jul 2005 09:51:13

Actually, it's not that difficult to scan recordings looking for certain sound patterns, even on large collections of sounds.

It won't take much for them to scan for people saying the word "spliff" or "joint", or the word "murder", even if you're just saying, "I could murder a chinese."

Equally, it's not hugely difficult to scan through huge collections of video looking for certain patterns. Automated facial recognition isn't perfect, but it's getting better all the time. However, matching the colour or pattern of your clothes is not at all difficult.

Soon they will be able to track your movements across town at will, automatically.

How safe do you feel now?

Posted by: Spokey | 5 Mar 2007 15:22:31

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