Wednesday, November 3, 2010

“On CCTV 300 times a day.” Rubbish. And here’s why.

From Lambert & Associates: "I was prompted to write this today owing to a TV news report that stated each of us is likely “caught” on camera “330 times a day”. What?!

First, a subsidiary point in this outrage is that when we’re viewed by a CCTV camera we shouldn’t feel “caught”. Why the negative wording, eh, Mr. TV Reporter? Are you “caught” when a bobby-on-the-beat sees you walking along in accordance with the law of the land? No. So why say that about CCTV? Sensationalist agenda from the mass media? Hmm. Anyway, on to the main point of this blog post.

I couldn’t help but notice the ubiquitous urban myth that each of us is view by 300 CCTV cameras per day in the UK has been inflated in this tv report to 330. Where did the additional 30 times a day spring from? I imagine someone decided that the figure must have gone up since it was originally ‘calculated’ and that 10% seems like a reasonable wild stab in the dark to a journalist looking to advance their career with breaking news, eh what? Tosh.

So where did the 300 figure come from in the first place? Can it be relied upon as the truth of the matter? The media certainly trot it out as ‘fact’ at every opportunity, and we know how trustworthy they are This was addressed recently in respected magazine Wired in ‘A Sharp Focus on CCTV’ by Heather Brooke. She wrote that Simon Davies of Privacy International walked London from Blackfriars to Bond Street in the earlier 1990′s and counted cameras before multiplying this up. How on earth can that represent the whole of the UK? It’s laughable, so let’s dismiss that ..."

Click here to read the rest of the story.


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