I love DK's suspicion of authority, believe it or not I share the same distrust of the police etc—but if you are going to defend the right to film in a public place (which I also agree with), you cannot go around slagging off CCTV like these 'libertarians' do. They are inconsistent and they must know their argument on CCTV doesn't stand up at all from a libertarian point of view.
Well, thanks for the compliment, Neil, but you must know your argument—to use your words—"doesn't stand up at all". For, as anyone with an understanding of the issues must realise, it is not the filming per se that is wrong, but the use to which that information is put.
First, there is a world of difference between someone casually filming a few minutes of footage and a systematic and constant observation of the population. Amongst other things, one might be tempted to invoke NuLabour's stalking laws against a cameraman who followed you with a camera, filming your every move and action. It would certainly be classed as harassment.
Second, the casual film-maker is not using the footage in an attempt to enforce conformity, which the government certainly is. There is a massive fucking difference between filming for, say, a news report and systematically filming the population in order to monitor their movements.
Third, one can approach the casual cameraman and ask that he does not film you and, I think, most would comply with that request. This brings the element of consent into the affair: you cannot request not to be filmed via CCTV. Apart from anything else, one never knows who's watching you through the CCTV lens (and there have been enough stories of CCTV operators abusing their powers for this to be something of a worry).
If Neil really cannot see the difference between these two types of filming, then he is even more fucking dense than I thought—and, let's face it, my opinion of his intellectual prowess was hardly the highest to start with.
UPDATE: Neil replies in the comments with, amongst other things, this...
... if you believe people have the right to film anyone they like in a public place then CCTV which is decided by a democratically elected government (with far more restrictions on them than some stranger filming you) is decidedly ok, especially when it is clearly an attempt to reduce crime and disorder.
First, we should always bear in mind that this government were elected by less than 22% of the electorate (let alone the population as a whole). Whether they claim to be democratic is, as far as I am concerned, utterly irrelevant. Not only were NuLabour elected by a minority of the citizens of this country, as a libertarian I am not interested in democracy but in liberty—as I have pointed out before. Personally, I would render the government so powerless that it would barely matter who was in charge anyway, but that is, at present, merely a fantasy.
Second, as constant studies have shown, CCTV has little impact on crime.
Under Labour the number of CCTV cameras has increased 8 times from 67 schemes with approximately 5,238 cameras in 1997 to an estimated 500 systems with 40,000 cameras in 2002. The problem is that CCTV is a placebo.
CCTV makes people feel safer but has no impact on actual crime levels or crime clear up rates. This is an overconfidence that has lead to real miscarrages of justice, luckily this is rarer than it might be because even with high quality systems it is hard to identify people from CCTV that you are not already familar with, and CCTV is very rarely of high quality.
Then there is the small matter that almost all of these supposed crime prevention schemes are themselves illegal. Real criminal know how useless they are though and have absolutely no fear of them. The law abiding however are not so lucky, CCTV may not be any good for reducing crime but they are perfectly good enough to let the operators play the peeping tom.
I said, at the top of this article, that...
... it is not the filming per se that is wrong, but the use to which that information is put.
Thegovernment have the power to control us through laws and through
Neil says, with emphasis added by me, that "I love DK's suspicion of authority, believe it or not I share the same distrust of the police etc"; apart from it being patently obvious that he does not really share my mistrust of authority—for why else would he put so much faith in a government that he would cede yet more power and liberty to?—if Neil was being sincere, he would never think to try to defend CCTV in this way because he would automatically understand why it is an intrusion.