Minority Report style devices to monitor “suspicious” individuals
Wednesday, Sept 23, 2009
Surveillance cameras that can identify suspicious individuals and prevent crimes before they take place could be rolled out all over the UK within the next five years scientists have claimed.
The program, named ISIS (Integrated Sensor Information System), presumably after the Pagan Goddess, is in development at Queen’s University Belfast.
The CCTV technology identifies suspicious individuals and behaviour and then acts to stamp out crimes before they happen, reports the London Telegraph .
The cameras assess situations and individuals based on pre-programmed criteria and can relay warnings to police and control rooms.
Potential criminal behaviour the cameras will be programmed to pick up on is listed as wearing hooded tops, making sudden movements, moving seats on public transport and engaging in verbal aggression.
The developers are planning to add metal detectors, motion detectors and microphones to the technology, which they say can be used with any existing network of surveillance cameras.
This means the system could be integrated into the planned national CCTV database .
The idea for the cameras comes in response to revelations that CCTV does virtually nothing to prevent or even help solve crimes.
A recent internal police report  found that in London just one crime is solved a year by every 1,000 CCTV cameras, while a Scotland Yard study in 2008  found that only 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images.
In addition, police do not have the time or the man power  to study hours of CCTV footage.
Of course, instead of scrapping the things and re-directing the billions spent on them into other methods of reducing crime, such as improving the quality of life in high crime areas, deluded boffins believe the answer is to “improve” the cameras and turn the country into something akin to Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report.
Britain has more security cameras than any other country in Europe. Estimates puts the total at 4.2 million, or one for every 14 people, with one million in London alone. Privacy International, assesses that the British public is the most watched citizenry in Europe.
To put that in perspective, in the Communist police state of China, which has a population of 1.3 billion, there are just 2.75 million cameras , the equivalent of one for every 472,000 of its citizens.
Pre-crime cameras are just the latest in a long line of promised future technological upgrades to the panopticon being built around us. Here is a reminder of some of the other delicious big brother devices we have been promised:
Behaviour monitoring cameras  – An early predecessor to the proposed pre-crime cameras, these devices are programmed to sound an alarm when they spot suspicious behaviour, such as waiting somewhere for a prolonged period of time or just walking in a suspicious way. These have already been deployed in airports and train stations .
Talking / Shouting cameras – In an incredibly Orwellian move, loudspeakers are being fitted to surveillance cameras throughout major cities, allowing CCTV operators to bark commands at people who drop litter, act in an aggressive manner or loiter. Some of these cameras will even use the voices of children who will be recruited from schools to take part in the scheme and will be shown round CCTV operating rooms on school trips, learning how wonderful the big brother state is and how forcing people to behave in a certain way in public is the essence of a free society.
X-Ray firing cameras  – Documents leaked from the Home Office have revealed that the government is looking into using X-ray technology cameras by concealing them in lamp posts to “trap terror suspects”. The cameras allow operators to see through people’s clothes and look for suspicious items.
Eavesdropping cameras  – London police and councils are considering monitoring our conversations in the street using high-powered microphones attached to CCTV cameras that can pick up “aggressive tones” on the basis of 12 factors, including decibel level, pitch and the speed at which words are spoken.
Face scanning cameras  – linked into the national CCTV database, software will allow cameras to scan hundreds of faces a second in crowds of people.