One Nation Under CCTV

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    “What kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. Something huge, terrible, and glittering—a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons.” George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four

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    It’s been a while since I opened up Photoshop for a bit of cheeky image editing, so here’s the latest experimental result! This one depicts a very British dystopia. George Orwell remains an infinitely quotable chap for this sort of subject, and I highly recommend his thought-provoking literary works. 'Nineteen Eighty Four' was a truly visionary undertaking – it foreshadowed the concept of a surveillance society long before the development of modern day technologies that would make it all possible.

    Britain is leading the world when it comes to CCTV. It has one and a half times as many surveillance cameras as communist China. The exact number of them in the UK is not known but an estimate in 2002 counted the figure at well over four million. The methodology of collecting such statistics is rather vague but reasonable research suggests that our country now has one camera for every 14 people.

    The security infrastructure being created, whilst valid in many respects, presents a plethora of worrying possibilities. The coupling of CCTV cameras with facial recognition algorithms that track people through crowds, read registration plates and log all this data for future use is handy for current civil enforcement but leaves the door open for the state of the future to have profound levels of control over society.

    (Thanks go to Richard Dawkins and the editors of Boing Boing for using the image to illustrate this article and sending lots of visitors here as a result.)

    BRJ INC., Canonshot Mole, stefan2904, and 32 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 3 more comments

    1. tj.blackwell 40 months ago | reply

      Cheers, I really appreciate that! It wouldn't be half as much fun making these images without people to share them with, so thanks for being an encouraging audience.

    2. I.K.Brunel 40 months ago | reply

      Another, excellent.

    3. BinaryApe 40 months ago | reply

      That giant robot is looking at my previous flat...

      [peers through curtains]

    4. .Ottilie. 40 months ago | reply

      ARRRGH we're all going to dieeeeeee!!!!
      ;)

      Hehe. Love the edit, it's really cool!
      *keeps calm and carries on* ;)

    5. Bobbyconrad 40 months ago | reply

      I like this, it makes me smile!

    6. akmia5555 40 months ago | reply

      Haha, brilliant work!

    7. Neil Aiston 40 months ago | reply

      Serious point, well made. (Even if somewhat understated.)

    8. maxst001 40 months ago | reply

      A very cool photoshopping job and a sad fact. It seems that the UK government is freaked out by what they think their subordinates might be up to. Sick, somehow.
      And even sicker, that so many other governments want to imitate yours :-(

    9. Sven Loach 40 months ago | reply

      Very clever work here. Poignant political art/ photography.

      Seen in 'A Picture of Britain'.

    10. The Buckhorn Two 40 months ago | reply

      "I need someone to protect me from all the measures they take in order to protect me. "
      — Banksy.

      Nice work dear boy.

    11. nocturnal_kiwi_bird 40 months ago | reply

      Well said! These cameras have to eliminated for the sake of freedom and human decency.

    12. Steve Swis 40 months ago | reply

      Clever work, image and text.

    13. Irwellian 40 months ago | reply

      The camera would have been helpful for the council for what used to go on around there. :)

    14. Jacanidae [deleted] 40 months ago | reply

      Good job this!!!!!!

    15. 95wombat 39 months ago | reply

      I had exactly the same impression on our visit to England. Cameras everywhere, even on the old facades in the charming Cotswold villages. Not that I had anything to hide...
      Last month I talked to an English expatriate who said that wasn't her impression. But she's been living here in New York for a long time.
      Cool image, by the way!

    16. Adam_T4 38 months ago | reply

      Great social commentary and great imagery. Who watches the watchers, and who's watching them?

    17. smallblu 38 months ago | reply

      amazing!, excellent idea and work.

    18. freestylee 34 months ago | reply

      This is the apparatus of a global police state my friend. Good work.

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