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Surveillance operators monitor CCTV feeds in London.  (Source: The Guardian)
Rights groups outraged

Hot off the heels of news indicating that widespread civic CCTV deployment has little meaningful impact on crime, new reports indicate that local UK governments are using CCTV to prosecute petty crimes, including cases of littering, the misuse of a disabled parking passes, and dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets in public.

According to the BBC, local authorities have abused the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) more than 100 times in the past 12 months, based off of interviews with 46 out of the 468 local governments in the UK.

In one of the more infamous examples, a government council admitted that it invoked RIPA in order to track a family that it suspected was living outside of a school’s admissions area. James Welch, legal director for rights group Liberty, called the abuse a “ridiculously disproportionate use of RIPA,” noting that it would “undermine public trust in necessary and lawful surveillance.”

RIPA was passed in 2000, in response to a rapidly-growing usage of the internet and strong encryption. The law both allowed and governed the use of surveillance, interception, and “covert human intelligence sources” in efforts to combat crime and terrorism.

Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti compared the government’s current scandal with CCTV to using a sledgehammer to crack nuts. Her group, as well as others such as Privacy International, called for a complete, “root and branch” review of the country’s surveillance and privacy laws.

Accusations against local governments are compounded by a number of recently-arising facts, including one that found that only 3% of street robberies in London are solved with CCTV-gathered images – despite the UK’s highest per-capita deployment of surveillance cameras in the world. One such report, published in The Guardian, attributes their lack of use to police investigator laziness and citizens’ lack of fear due to the fact that they think that the “cameras are not working.” Police departments attributed it to a lack of meaningful collaboration, and have since called on work to produce a national database of offenders.

“There are strict rules to protect people from unnecessary intrusion,” said Local Government Association chairman Sir Simon Milton. “Whenever a council applies to use these powers they must prove that it is both necessary and proportionate to the crime being investigated.”

Chakrabarti was not satisfied, however: “There are better ways to achieve the objectives without using counter-terrorism laws,” she said.

“You can care about serious crime and terrorism without throwing away our personal privacy with a snoopers' charter.”

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RE: V For Vendetta
By Reclaimer77 on 5/11/2008 7:47:08 PM , Rating: 0
so you equate anti-fascism with being anti-american?

Did you watch the film ? Its basically trying to say that what we're doing to combat terrorism is fascist. Which is patently absurd and why I think it fails as a true allegory.

Having said that, if you can get past the misguided heavy handed political grandstanding, I thought it was a great film. We knew from the Matrix trilogy that Hugo Weaving had talent, but he takes his role as " V " to a whole new level. He wears a mask for the entire film, yet every hand gesture, tip of the head, and sigh conveys so much more depth. The action scenes were very well done. And I like the use of visual contrast with dark scenes being very dark and light scenes being very light etc etc.

I'm a pretty objective guy. I can appreciate good action, acting, and cinemetography yet still see the film for what it is. A current event ( well WAS current in 2005 ) allegory. I just don't agree with the message.

RE: V For Vendetta
By Gul Westfale on 5/11/2008 9:16:05 PM , Rating: 3
you cannot fight evil by becoming evil yourself, it defeats the whole purpose. that is the point of books like 1984 and animal farm... and V isn't far off, either.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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