From a PJC Commenter sent in today.
I spent most of today in Birmingham at the NEC. I had primarily gone there to see the Health & Safety and the Fire Safety exhibitions. But alongside, and with free entry from the ticket that I already had, was one mounted by/for the security industry. It is called IPSEC. I wandered around this with steadily growing incredulity.
At one stand they were announcing their privacy enhanced CCTV.
The pictures on display were all pixellated, so that distinguishing features could not be readily discerned. Good for privacy I was told.
So I informed this foreign gentleman (Swiss) that his firm had backed a loser. The government were about to force systems operators to upgrade their installations, to give greater clarity of distinguishing features to the police (state), so deliberately downgrading would not be allowed.
Ah but, he replied, in our case all you have to do is to put the dongle back into the PC, and all is revealed in HDTV type clarity! And it was.
So, if this system were to be introduced, the public will be duped by the “privacy enhancement” when the state's backroom boys will all along have the PC dongle to permit real clear surveillance of their current targets.
This could be so devious that surely it is already on some Home Office hidden agenda somewhere, we just haven't been told about it yet!
And I continued to despond as I passed stand after stand telling me about how wonderfully they could manipulate CCTV images to extract number plate information, driver's face (car park “security” to check that the driver removing the vehicle is the same as the driver who parked it), movement, aggression, just hanging around, etc etc.
I finally had enough on a stand with an unmarked police car fitted with two very small forward facing cameras, one for the installed ANPR system and one just recording the general view.
I asked the rep who wandered over to me, how he could be content selling this stuff, considering that the nationwide ANPR scheme had not been approved by Parliament.
Hearing a rather determined note in my voice, he was swiftly joined by another from a large (probably in excess of 6) number of reps on the stand.
The outcome was that this somewhat larger rep assured me that he was all in favour of the technology because it worked, that I should direct all comments about the manner of its introduction to the government as he just sold the technology, and of course he slept well at night.
As I left the stand they were clearly having a ball. It was just hilarious that someone had challenged them on this topic, or in this way.
What I had missed was the opportunity to deliver the obvious (after the event) barb about plenty of people at Nurenburg discovering post 1945 that “just following orders” was insufficient as a defence.
But it wouldn't have made any difference. They just know that they are right. I think the quote is that “there are none so blind as those who will not see” (ie choose not to).