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Big brother’s getting bigger

“Intelligent” software is making CCTV more effective, but would you want it watching you?

By Philip Hunter   May 2010

It is four years since Britain’s then information commissioner, Richard Thomas, warned we were slipping almost imperceptibly into a surveillance society. He singled out CCTV, in which Britain is the world leader, with 10 per cent of all the world’s cameras (about one for every 12 people) covering large swathes of our cities. The countless anecdotal reports of CCTV’s growing intrusion into the fabric of everyday existence made my own experience, on Christmas Day 2008, hardly unique.

I had just crossed the local railway line via a public right of way, taking me briefly onto the platform, when a voice…

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