A lot of debate has been going on around closed circuit video surveillance in cities, since the mid 1980s when they became regularly introduced in US and later the UK. Simple video surveillance is today often equipped with facial recognition and motion tracking, to make more efficient use of the system. With the excuse of the ‘war on terrorism’, enhanced video surveillance systems have been deployed at airports, massive(sports) events, and night clubs.
Given the fact that city centres are increasingly becoming spaces for commerce and consumption; the use of public CCTV here is ‘coloured’ by the interests of the corporate elite. Through the Town Centre Management schemes, they are applying strategies to turn the social space of town centres into shopping areas, more appealing to consumers. They are considered to intentionally discriminate against homeless and poor people, trying to conduct the cleansing of the
‘inappropriate’ behaviours and individuals from retailing areas.
Studies of the way CCTV operators identify potential threat or problems have shown that they actively discriminate against races and sexes, targetting and scrutinizing young black men or particular subcultural groups. This discriminatory practice was later integrated in CCTV systems enhanced with facial recognition techniques, to target and track specific individuals.
Robot readable world:
an experiment in found machine-vision footage, exploring the aesthetics of the robot eye