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In China, there are about 120 million video cams, many with face recognition capability. Ostensibly, their purpose is to prevent crime, but of course in China, being critical of the government can get you in lots of trouble.


4 Answers


O'Tink, THAT makes my blood run cold... because I have seen that same thing here...I already posted this a while back, it happened in Iowa, however maybe bears repeating...

Tenants at the senior apts. where I lived (and was evicted) were congregating to discuss options for mitigating harsh management policies. When management learned of this, they quickly installed about 200 (YES, 200) surveillance cameras...for tenant security and comfort of course! However only one camera was trained upon each (already locked and secure) outside entry, the rest were spread through the 11 residential floors! One or two cameras surveilled each apartment door, several looked down on every possible gathering place.

This kind of surveillance is VERY effective. 

The point is that here in the USA, with our tradition of individual freedom and personal rights, you begin with the most vulnerable populations, those least likely to resist...and I am currently discussing with friends as to why old people are so easily intimidated, but we are...and I fear we USA will soon have cameras everywhere...

So my blood is cold because I think that Chinese policy is already beginning here surreptitiously, in the name of "protecting" people...and like China, in Iowa the avowed purpose was to "deter crime."

btw, my computer did open the BBC link, and might be able to play the video if I tinker some more...

TheOtherTink Virginia

Virginia, if it turns out you can't open the video, it was a test by a BBC reporter, to see how quickly the Chinese surveillance system could locate him. It took SEVEN minutes.  :O

Yes, older people are often easily intimidated, because they no longer have the energy they used to have, and just want to avoid trouble.

And of course the swine landlords in Iowa knew that, and took advantage. It breaks my heart. :'(


I remember talking to someone in England that said the same type of thing. There were almost as many cameras as there were people in the city he lived. There approximately between 4 and 5.9 million CCTV's in England alone.

There are about 30 million here in the U.S. I don't see them stopping much crime either!

How many CCTV cameras actually are there in the UK? – Arc24

TheOtherTink Rooster

@ Rooster: actually I think street crime rates have generally gone down, and politicians and police commissioners are quick to brag about it, but I don't think it's by better police work.  I suspect it's mostly because of more videocam surveillance - I mean, you can't even go into a 7-11 without being recorded, let alone a bank. 

What is troubling are the potential and actual political abuses of all this monitoring. :(

Virginia Rooster

Other Tink, your Q seems to open something of a can of worms here...Kninjanin mentions this deep video surveillance in Belgrade, Rooster in England...Marianne mentions the historicity of surveillance, however now more effective than ever with high tech...how now to preserve/restore our individual freedoms?

Or, will the video surveillance somehow turn out "okay," without devolving into Big Brother? ...idk...however in the apt. in Iowa, the effect was definitely oppressive...and rationalized/justified through doublespeak...well (sigh), looks like we the whole world are about to find out...

TheOtherTink Rooster

Well, Virginia, I'm afraid that whatever politicians happen to be in power will find it too tempting not to use the surveillance to compile an 'enemies list', as they already do in dictatorships and unscrupulous businesses.

Rooster Rooster

No telling what else they may see also! LOL


Virginia Rooster

O'Tink, and Rooster, to me it just seems so poignant...more and more I really seem to see just what a grand democratic republican philosophy of our Founding Fathers...and how easily that individual-centered philosophy could be lost...

However, I am now seeing huge discussions on the Internet, books, and other places too. We still have in place the basic concept of the common good of the people, and I have to believe in a democratic groundswell from the bottom up. That is, instead of descending into violence (which has a way of vomiting up those unsavory dictators), the USA will ultimately find a more wholesome route.

TheOtherTink Rooster

Yes, I hope so, Virginia, if we haven't become too fat, lazy and dumbed down.  :(

Virginia Rooster

O'Tink, as I do my studies, that apparently IS something that does happen; people get numbed and dumbed...and they let things slide too far. 

I have to believe that won't happen this time, anyway I have made some changes in my own life for my part to help prevent it.


In Belgrade, I see too many cameras in the streets. I don't know who is watching me.