By Mick Meaney
RINF Alternative News
Melbourne residents are becoming increasingly concerned about the growing level of surveillance on their day to day business and have likened the increase of CCTV cameras to the worlds’ number one surveillance society, Great Britain.
Britain has set a terrifying example to the rest of the world for how state sponsored surveillance can be introduced despite massive opposition, in true dictatorial type fashion.
Liberty Victoria president Brian Walters, who is calling for a public register of all spy cameras operating in Melbourne has stated: “There is a feeling that somehow, by having a piece of technology hanging off a wall somewhere, we are made safer.
“It’s one thing to go about our business, it’s another to have people who we don’t know in a room somewhere looking at us. To have this kind of Big Brother approach can be justified but we need to know how it’s justified, who’s justifying it, who’s looking at the material and for what purpose,” Mr Walters said.
At least 40,000 CCTV cameras are in operation in Melbourne, but nobody really knows how many for sure as there is no list of where the thousands of cameras are operating and no regulations or guidelines exist to state where and how cameras can be used.
The figure means that there is one camera for every 100 people, slightly lower than current average in the UK where there is one camera for every 14 people.
Although this number is set to rise as $13.6 million is about to be spent on a public security transport package, adding to the $11.5 million that has already been spent on surveillance in Melbourne.
$5 million will be used to upgrade CCTV cameras, and the remaining $8.6 million will replace analogue CCTV recording equipment at all metropolitan train stations and the overall cost of 24/7 surveillance takes around $608,000 a year from taxpayer funds.
90 per cent of Victoria’s taxis already house CCTV cameras and there is concern that the government plan to launch UK style spy drones to monitor civilians. However Marika Fengler, a Victoria Police spokeswoman, said there are currently no plans to introduce spy drones.