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Why bring Big Brother into it?

Big Brother posterFor many years the anti-CCTV purveyors of prattling paranoia to the public (isn’t alliteration an alluring amusement?) have used the concept of Big Brother to paint the use of CCTV as a despicable tool to oppress the masses. As one of the masses myself; and probably designated one of the ‘Outer Party‘ described in George Orwell’s novel “1984” by dint of my work as a CCTV consultant who often works alongside local government CCTV systems; why don’t I feel oppressed by CCTV, unlike the Guardianistas who so clearly do? I see little solid evidence for the presence of Orwell’s Big Brother in CCTV in the UK. Why are my feelings about CCTV so significantly different from theirs?

One hypothesis I’m conjuring with revolves around our differing depths of genuinely hands-on knowledge of CCTV in the real world. I have designed, installed, tested and maintained CCTV systems and, as a consultant, advised on these activities and the management of real world system for many years. In stark contrast, the ‘anti’ brigade seem to lack this down-on-the-ground, practical experience. Why do I suspect this? Simple. Look at the careers of the loudest mouths to date. Journalists. Pen-pushers. Graduates in politics. These are people with access to a megaphone in their daily roles. No wonder they drown other voices out.

Are any of them CCTV professionals who’ve worked at the coal face? To take a view on that possibility we only have to read their commentary, the questionable ‘evidence’ that they cite, and the profoundly loopy conclusions at which they often arrive. They seem incapable of gauging the (in)sanity of their wild assertions. Anyone who actually knew the reality of the situations about which they mount their high-horses simply wouldn’t reach these erroneous conclusions, before going on to build ever-growing paranoia upon these fantastical foundations. Who does it hurt? Them; and the soft heads who seemingly want to be frightened (like a child wanting to ride the ghost train at a funfair) who accept this bulldust hook, line & sinker.

The Guardianistas, Big Brother Watch, and their ilk probably lay awake at night worrying about the imaginary CCTV bogeyman. Do I? No, because I’ve seen first-hand what’s really going on every day behind doors that are naturally closed to all but the people actually doing the job in hand. The doors should be closed, not for the Orwellian reasons that they suspect, but because it’s security-sensitive and confidential information that’s being handled in those rooms and is for trained, authorised eyes only. Quite rightly. Would you want your banker to let people see into their offices, willy nilly? No. Same goes in CCTV. It seems to me that nothing is stopping these campaigners from leaving their out-of-touch world of the liberal elite, lengthy lunches in Islington bistros and Westminster wine bars in order to take up roles at the sharp end of CCTV where some real work in done. If they did their longstanding paranoia, largely created by their imaginations filling the vacuum in their knowledge, would melt away under the weight of evidence from the real world.

I will agree with them in condemning the occasions that good practice is not followed in CCTV. There are, of course, many examples of this as there are in any sphere of endeavour you care to name (but not as many as they’d have you believe with their scaremongering).  However, when CCTV is properly run and is demonstrably a proportionate measure in light of its particular circumstances, their misguided objections and spread of misinformation, especially to their fellows in the liberal elite who are often the strategic decision makers in government, must be strongly countered. Few in are doing the latter which can only be done by people who really know what they’re talking about. They are rare, and often the ones quite wrongly drowned out by the liberal loudmouths with their professional megaphones.

If you read “1984” as I have just done again, you’ll find that the ‘telescreens’ are the only device that even hints at what we call CCTV. They have significant differences from CCTV and so the parallel is grossly unfair. More on this another day, but in the meantime be aware that Orwell’s Big Brother has far more in common with fundamentalist religious organizations that govern the thoughts and the lives of millions than it does with real world CCTV. They should stop perpetuating this tenuous association.

Until next time; stay focused.

Image by surfstyle on flickr.com by creative commons attribution.

1 comment to Why bring Big Brother into it?

  • LandAadmin

    Thanks for your comments. Both much appreciated.

    Can you tell me where the jump to my website came from? Always fascinated to know!

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