Security expert Bruce Schneier has issued a warning about CCTV in the Guardian this week. As a crime fighting tool Schneier points out that surveillance cameras are not very effective: "This fact has been demonstrated again and again: by a comprehensive study for the Home Office in 2005, by several studies in the US, and again with new data announced last month by New Scotland Yard. They actually solve very few crimes, and their deterrent effect is minimal."
Schneier concludes that cameras are not worth the £500 million or so of public money that has been invested but also issues a stark warning about where surveillance cameras are headed:
We live in a unique time in our society: the cameras are everywhere, and we can still see them. Ten years ago, cameras were much rarer than they are today. And in 10 years, they'll be so small you won't even notice them. Already, companies like L-1 Security Solutions are developing police-state CCTV surveillance technologies like facial recognition for China, technology that will find their way into countries like the UK. The time to address appropriate limits on this technology is before the cameras fade from notice.