This combined with the government's
encouragement for Londoners to report their neighbors for suspicious activity,
of which potential signs of terrorism include owning a vehicle, living in a
house or getting a refund on a credit card, fuse the infrastructure of a classic
total surveillance state, with civilian tattle-tale squads forming the modern
BBC | January
Civil rights campaigners have voiced concern about a new channel allowing households
in east London to monitor local CCTV cameras, dubbed "Asbo TV".
The project will enable Shoreditch residents to compare suspicious characters
with an on-screen "rogue's gallery" from their living-room.
Viewers can then alert police to anyone in breach of an anti-social behaviour
order (Asbo) or committing a crime.
Asbo Concern said the scheme was a "gimmick" and would be open to
Fear of crime
The CCTV channel is part of a £12m online community network project being
set up in the area under a 10-year government-funded regeneration programme
in one of the country's most deprived areas.
About 1,000 residents in the Haberdasher and Charles Square estates will pilot
the scheme from March before it is rolled out to more than 20,000 households
across Shoreditch, giving viewers access to some 400 cameras.
They will be asked to pay about £3.50 a week for the full service, which
includes cheap local calls, a free set-top box providing digital TV, public
service channels and high-speed internet access.
Atul Hatwal, strategy director of the Shoreditch Digital Bridge, said while
crime in the area has fallen, the community safety channel will address the
fear of crime.
"The scheme aims to empower members of the local community to support
police in tackling crime and supporting each other in making Shoreditch a safer
place," he said.
But Matt Foot, co-ordinator for Asbo Concern, which campaigns against the misuse
of the Asbo, said the channel was "a complete waste of money".
"While the rest of the project sounds quite positive, the community safety
channel is a gimmick," he said. "There are professionals trained to
monitor CCTV and it should be left to them.
"Here, you will have a situation of people spying on each other, which
raises concerns about vigilantism and vulnerable people such as children being
bullied on CCTV.