The unbelievably high number of cameras in use in one single town was recently revealed by Tony Porter, the Government’s surveillance camera commissioner. The former Met Counter-terrorism officer helped to create a code of usage for surveillance cameras under David Cameron’s government.


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Commissioner’s warning

Mr Porter warned that a combination of the high levels of camera information with the trawling of personal information from the internet could mean an impressive amount of information about a person’s life can be gathered together, a fact most people are completely unaware of.

He went on to caution that should manufacturers lead the latest technological advances, we could end up in a situation where the “balance of security versus privacy is lost, and that what we understand as a free society is eroded.”

Spying eyes everywhere

Although it was not named, nearly every town and city in the UK is watched by many fixed security cameras, CCTV, number plate recognition systems, and even occasionally by drones and body worn cameras. These body cams were once only used by police officers, but they now seem to be spreading to many other varied officials and security guards.


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The Independent recently pointed out the huge number of council employees now being issued body cams.

You can even purchase your own body worn camera online at sites like

To many cameras, not enough privacy?

The reality is that there are times when surveillance and integrated technology may enable the police to arrest and prosecute a criminal and might even help to foil a terrorist plot. It is hard for anyone to argue against the advantages of having that powerful capability. However, the danger rests in the huge amount of personal information that is being gathered every day about all of us that could be held and used against anybody.

The biggest challenge facing all of us is ensuring there are built-in protections within the running of these systems and that proper measures are in place for the sensitive handling of the information that is gathered and held. We must ensure that we create a system that provides us all with the correct balance of security versus our personal liberties, without allowing any bodies either private or public to abuse the information that is held.