In another step in their Short March to become the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, the United Kingdom of Great Britain is about to get a "game" that will allow any citizen to watch CCTV cameras every day. And get prizes.
The plan is simple: A company called Internet Eyes wants to stream CCTV feeds from businesses—or anyone willing to pay them $30 a month—that want their cameras to be watched by humans 24/7. At the same time, they are signing up bored citizens, peeping toms, pervs, and any other loser wanting to watch those camera feeds. These people don't pay a dollar. Instead, they will get paid: Up $1,600 to whoever reports the most crimes happening on camera.
The viewers—who will monitor four cameras simultaneously—can report a crime in real time using the companies web page, which will send a CCTV frame to the owner of the camera via SMS. The watchmen, however, wouldn't know the location of the cameras, which will change every ten minutes.
The company says they are serious, and that this is not a game. According to Tony Morgan, their managing director:
This isn't a game - it's serious. This is all about crime prevention and it could be very, very effective. At the moment people look at CCTV and think someone might or might not be watching so they commit the crimes anyway. Once this gets going and we get signs saying that the CCTV is part of our scheme, it will be an extra deterrent because people will know they are probably being watched.
Needless to say, civil liberties groups are protesting the concept. Protest all you want, but this looks like it may happen. To give you an idea of how far this may go, Britain has one camera per fourteen people, even while the Metropolitan Police said in an August internal report that only one crime for every thousand cameras in London was solved.
Señor Alan Moore, you are the true Nostradamus. Off to get a Guy Fawkes mask, peeps. [IBTimes]