DAVID FISHER, VIVA GOLDNER
FROM the moment you leave your home to the time you return each day, your image has already been recorded hundreds of times.
A leap in the number of closed-circuit television cameras in the past decade has established a virtually seamless network of electronic eyes that record almost every movement we make outdoors.
The Daily Telegraph yesterday counted at least 40 cameras keeping watch over two blocks of George St in Sydney’s CBD.
The strip, which includes Town Hall Station and the cinema complex, features multiple cameras inside shops and eateries as well as on the street and above awnings.
Civil libertarians yesterday warned of the potential abuse of a State Government plan to integrate private CCTV systems with those of the police.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties said the Government should focus on how footage is being misused rather than expand its use. Private business would be enlisted into a statewide spy network to fight crime and terrorism.
Police Minister Carl Scully devised the plan after briefings in London with the Metropolitan Police’s anti-terrorism branch.
British police used CCTV footage to track the bombers who killed 52 people on July 7.
NSW Council of Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy said innocent people would be opposed to Mr Scully’s plan.
»There are already enough CCTV cameras. Whenever there is an incident, CCTV footage turns up — it certainly did after the Cronulla riots,» he said.
Mr Murphy said there were concerns about the misuse of CCTV cameras by private operators.
»There are plenty of reports of operators spending the day watching women and focusing on their body parts,» he said.
»We see people’s images turning up in compilation videos where there are inappropriate shots up skirts and down blouses.»
A spokesman for Lord Mayor Clover Moore said she reserve judgement on the scheme until she had seen the details.
»We take advice from police. We recently installed cameras in Kings Cross because police had advised that that is a crime spot that needs monitoring,» a spokesman for Ms Mootre said.
»We have about 50 CCTV cameras and they are often fed live to police during major events.
Pedestrians were surprised — though not alarmed – by the number of CCTV systems already stationed along both sides of the 500m stretch, between Liverpool and Park Sts.
Nicole Pearson, 30, of Drummoyne, said the proposal to meld footage would provide citizens with a greater sense of security.
»I think it works really well in London, so it is good … You feel more protected,» Ms Pearson said.
Are we watched too closely?
DAVID FISHER, VIVA GOLDNER