Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Brown's plan to monitor "abnormal behaviour" with technological surveillance

Given David Davis's valiant attempt to bring the matter of civil liberties and the database state further up the agenda I have just read something rather worrying buried in an inocuously titled Government document called "Rail Technical Strategy" that was published in July 2007.

Take a look at the pdf and go to page 28 and there are some bullet points stating.
• Access control through continued use of gating on stations will
be extended;
• Scanning for passenger numbers and weapons remains an option,
although the risk needs to be balanced against the disadvantages in
terms of capacity;
• Closed-circuit television (CCTV) will continue to be developed, including automatic face recognition and detection of abnormal behaviour;
So, all stations to have new security gates, linked to CCTV with facial recognition systems and also looking for "abnormal behaviour" (whatever that may be considered to be).

Now think about those lovely ID cards, and how you could incorporate such technology with them and use it to justify even greater monitoring of our movements on the grounds of security?

Go through gate, have your face scanned, have it mapped against the ID database, monitroing whether you're sweating, twicthing, looking a bit dodgy. Nicked.


Anonymous said...

If they are referring to London Underground as well, I guess "abnormal behaviour" could be classed as:

Talking to the stranger sitting next to you.

Arriving at the destination on time

Finding a polite member of staff

Travelling for six months without incurring a strike

Anonymous said...

Abnormal behaviour? By that definition I think someone needs to monitor Gordon 24/7.

jailhouselawyer said...

Sorry if it is off topic. When did you say you are off to Spain?

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Dizzy! Video surveillance software can now identify dodgy behaviour from CCTV. They've tested the July bombings using ObjectView VEW -- they claim it works.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of putting all that security on this station: Llandecwyn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llandecwyn_railway_station

Anonymous said...

Obviously you haven't been keeping up with the news.


"A trial found that introducing airport-style checks would be impractical and antagonise the public.

The transport minister, Tom Harris, said the public would not accept the resulting delays and there would be objections about personal privacy if an extensive screening regime was introduced."

Old BE said...

No doubt linked in to the nationwide Oyster system which of course is totally unhackable just like ID cards!

Anonymous said...

Does he mean abnormal behaviour such as,

Stapling your hand?
Tucking your left trouser leg in your sock?
Eating your snot on national TV?
Painting orange blobs on your forehead?
Sticking your fingers up the Presidents sleeve?
Throwing perfectly good mobile phones at the wall.
Throwing staplers at your staff?
Gulping like a goldfish?
Phoning members of the public at 4am?
Calling off an election because you would have won it?
Taxing the poor more to make them richer?
Biting your finger nails until they are raw?
Being psychologically flawed?

Or is it just abnormal for people to want to use public transport?

Anonymous said...

"Go through gate, have your face scanned, have it mapped against the ID database, monitroing whether you're sweating, twicthing, looking a bit dodgy. Nicked."

And 42 days in chokey without even being told what crime you might have committed.

Anonymous said...

They'd arrest loads of people in Vauxhall tube if they went by those symptoms.

Anonymous said...

Well, given that the Met. can shoot you in the head for getting on the tube carrying a rucsack, this latest doesn't seem too big a deal.

Anonymous said...

Abnormal behaviour... like hanging around at the end of station platforms, taking photographs, noting down numbers in little notebooks. Now I understand why Brown was so desperate to get the 42 days detention law through Parliament. Presumably when he was a child he was bullied by trainspotters. Now he can bang them up for six weeks without charge.

So when you are at your local station, do not on any account look at the trains. Not even if one of them catches fire or turns out to be the Flying Scotsman. Just pretend they aren't there.

(Which, if you are a regular traveller between Ipswich and Liverpool St, isn't too hard to do.)

dreamingspire said...

RTS is the companion to a Rail White Paper, now nearly a year old. Both came out of DfT at what I hope was the lowest point in its miserable history. So please keep on lobbing great gobs of commonsense at it.
Meanwhile Tom Harris is a good egg who gets out quite a bit - or did. Now he gets things thrown at him and doesn't appear quite so often. You could try chunks of the Transport Bill as ammo.