CCTV is making the world a better place, say Police
You may feel like you live in an Orwellian world where your life is invaded by faceless forces, and you'd be right. Not only is the government considering plans to censor what you do in the privacy of your own home (thanks partly to enthusiastic religious campaigners), but you can't walk down a high street without your every move being recorded.
Since 1999, the number of CCTV cameras in Britain has increased from 21,000 to a smack in the arse off 60,000 in 2010. But it's for your own good, say the Police - and they have proof.
According to the Metropolitan Police, CCTV helps solve almost six crimes a day in London; out of 2,512 suspects identified using cameras this year, four were suspected murderers, five were wanted gunmen and 23 were sex attackers.
"The key to our success is that images, unidentified images, are treated as a forensic discipline," said a Met spokesperson. "They are treated like fingerprints and DNA."
Of course, CCTV isn't just for capturing murderers; London councils issued £7.3 million in speeding fines in 12 months thanks to mobile speeding cameras - a more contentious use of CCTV than tracking down violent criminals.
It's all girst to the mill in the debate over privacy and civil liberties; on the one side is government and many members of the public - if you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide. Standing defiantly in their way are those who share the views of organisations like Big Brother Watch - the state has seized too much power and will only continue to chip away at the rights of the individual.