And then I saw this: "Atlanta was the only place in the U.S. to crack the top ten, with 15.56 cameras per thousand residents."
So they are looking at cameras per 1000 residents. This seems like the wrong way to count. If you point a camera at a block, you see everyone on that block whether there is one person or 10.
They should compute it as percentage of public area that is under surveillance, I think.
My understanding is that was a passing fad a few years ago. It was hyped by some startups but commercial users found it less than helpful compared to traditional metrics. I met a grocery store consultant (a real job) at a security conference. He said they used cameras to deal with traffic issues (even load between aisles) and predict cashier/customer ratios. They had abandoned the face/eye-tracking tech. Eye-level shelf space is better. They don't need an algorithm to keep telling them that.
The goal was to evaluate density of coverage and frequency of arrivals. But that completely neglected population density, so it ended up rewarding cities for urban sprawl.
This feels like the same type of mistake, where per-capita count neglects both population density and total coverage. There's a massive difference between every shop having its own camera (even if police access them) and something like London's Ring of Steel, where the camera layout and even streets have been designed to maximize coverage and identification rate in the most populous areas.
In Atlanta, for instance, the cameras surveilled by the police are 90% privately owned. And this isn't just "with a warrant" or "when a shopkeeper reports a crime and provides tapes", but nonstop, integrated access to their feeds.
Conversely, a lot of the cameras in London may be private, unconnected, and indoors, which I agree is much less worrying. But the Ring of Steel does far more surveillance per-camera-per-capita than any shop camera, since it has unified design meant to maximize how many people are identifiably captured on camera.
It’s interesting to hear this difference. Here in Germany there are often cases where the courts forbid fake cameras because they "create an atmosphere of surveillance".
For example many of those fake cams getting forbidden were from landlords and residents sued. Now if there were good reason like many break-ins in the area, the same landlord would have been allowed to have a real camera there.
Including one directly at the back of my head, which showed some early signs of balding.
It was the most unpleasant bus ride I have ever had. London is nuts.
(I'm joking, but the covert surveillance and public scaremongering that London did to enforce TV licenses was a little absurd.)
A camera in a busy street or at a chokepoint is worse (or more effective, depending on your viewpoint) than one in a cul-the-sac, even if they cover the same amount of space.
Consider not only how many cameras there are and where, but also to what level of detail they are able to see, who has access to what they see, and as mentioned elsewhere ITT, the other systems that they are connected to.
e.g. a grainy CCTV cam in a convenience store is a single camera, as is one in a Gorgon Stare surveillance plane, but those do not generate equivalent amounts of surveillance.
NYPD has a well integrated and pervasive intelligence system. I’m sure Atlanta is no slouch, but the money spent by NYC just dwarfs anyone who isn’t the Feds.
> Chicago had the highest number of individual cameras amongst U.S. cities, at 35,000.
So we at least have an upper bound.
Actually if you dig in you can find a spreadsheet  with all the info. NY has 11k cameras total. If you sort it by just number of cameras NY ranks as #38 (as opposed to #58 by cameras/1k people)
Also digging in, they don't have data on LA. Though they do mention that there are 300-400k private cameras. Though the top 3 cities (all in China) have well over a million.
What's also interesting is the correlation between the crime and safety indices. Some of those cities have low crime indices (under 20 is good, above 60 is high) and high safety indices (higher == better). The correlation is really off here.
I suspect they mean the wider NYC area. Manhattan itself is just shy of 34 square miles, and I think it is probably more surveillance dense per square mile than any other place in the US, but that may not apply to the wider NYC area.
I think the number of cameras per 1000 capita is actually a good metric, it's easier to calculate and it probably is doing a good job on average.
1. Chongqing, China – 2,579,890 cameras for 15,354,067 people = 168.03 cameras per 1,000 people
2. Shenzhen, China – 1,929,600 cameras for 12,128,721 people = 159.09 cameras per 1,000 people
3. Shanghai, China – 2,985,984 cameras for 26,317,104 people = 113.46 cameras per 1,000 people
4. Tianjin, China – 1,244,160 cameras for 13,396,402 people = 92.87 cameras per 1,000 people
5. Ji’nan, China – 540,463 cameras for 7,321,200 people = 73.82 cameras per 1,000 people
6. London, England (UK) – 627,707 cameras for 9,176,530 people = 68.40 cameras per 1,000 people
7. Wuhan, China – 500,000 cameras for 8,266,273 people = 60.49 cameras per 1,000 people
8. Guangzhou, China – 684,000 cameras for 12,967,862 people = 52.75 cameras per 1,000 people
9. Beijing, China – 800,000 cameras for 20,035,455 people = 39.93 cameras per 1,000 people
10. Atlanta, Georgia (US) – 7,800 cameras for 501,178 people = 15.56 cameras per 1,000 people
11. Singapore – 86,000 cameras for 5,638,676 people = 15.25 cameras per 1,000 people
12. Abu Dhabi, UAE – 20,000 cameras for 1,452,057 people = 13.77 cameras per 1,000 people
13. Chicago, Illinois (US) – 35,000 cameras for 2,679,044 people = 13.06 cameras per 1,000 people
14. Urumqi, China – 43,394 cameras for 3,500,000 people = 12.40 cameras per 1,000 people
15. Sydney, Australia – 60,000 cameras for 4,859,432 people = 12.35 cameras per 1,000 people
16. Baghdad, Iraq – 120,000 cameras for 9,760,000 people = 12.30 cameras per 1,000 people
17. Dubai, UAE – 35,000 cameras for 2,883,079 people = 12.14 cameras per 1,000 people
18. Moscow, Russia – 146,000 cameras for 12,476,171 people = 11.70 cameras per 1,000 people
19. Berlin, Germany – 39,765 cameras for 3,556,792 people = 11.18 cameras per 1,000 people
20. New Delhi, India – 179,000 cameras for 18,600,000 people = 9.62 cameras per 1,000 people
3. Shanghai, China – 2,985,984 cameras for 26,317,104 people = 113.46 cameras per 1,000 people
76. Tokyo, Japan - 24,500 cameras for 37,435,191 people = 0.65 cameras per 1,000 people
Well, first off what are we comparing? They list 26.3 million people for Shanghai and 37.4 million for Tokyo. That's comparing the metropolitian area of Tokyo (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba) to just the city of Shangahi. Shanghai's metropolitian area population is closer to 33 million.
If we change Tokyo to the city population (9.3m) which is what they used for Shanghai then Tokyo jumps to position 40 at 2.66 cameras per 1000 people.
On top of that 24,500 seems awefully low for Tokyo. There are cameras everywhere and have been since I first got here 21 years ago. I always found it strange if the Japanese are so honest (perception may be different than reality) then why do they need so many cameras? Of course I haven't counted, just saying for a city so large and seeing the cameras stick out if you're looking it feels low.
All of that is the long way of saying the data is highly suspect.
A better methodology would be to do a physical audit. Have some people in each city manually count the number of cameras over some area, then extrapolate from there. This has the flaw of missing hidden or inaccessible cameras, but at least would be consistent.
Why? Multiple sources shouldn't matter, it is the quality of sources. If you're gathering data you shouldn't expect it to all come from one place. There's no single source that tracks every single thing. At some point you're going to have to gather data from multiple sources, especially if you're trying to make comparisons that others haven't.
This assumes a uniform distribution where one isn't obvious. Some places are bound to have more security than others.
I don't think it matters much though, as a simple count of cameras isn't so useful (especially with them being so cheap now). How many cameras is less important than what they cover and what they are connected to.
Solving the long tail end has decreasing returns.
If you already have a well-behaving society, then adding a few cameras probably won't change anything at all. You need a whole lot of cameras to have any meaningful effect.
Is it part of the zero-unemployment busywork culture?
"There are no significant highways passing through Quantico. All road vehicles must pass through MCB Quantico in order to reach the town. Therefore, all vehicle drivers must present a valid driver’s license to the military security officer stationed at the gate, and may be required to state their destination and reason for visiting. More thorough searches and checks may also be undertaken, according to the discretion and authority of base security.
Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express trains stop at the Quantico station."
So, not just a town, then.
I can definitely say that I felt the safest in Beijing, at all time. It's a weird feeling being able to just randomly walk for hours in the streets at 4am alone, even if you're a girl, and feel completely safe.
London felt quite safe too, probably the safest city I've lived in in Europe.
Chicago on the other hand, I would never take walks in the evening, got into weird situations many times even during the day. It was quite the scary city for a European! Someone even got shot in my street when I was living there.
These days? All we get is pedantic quibbling over what counts as "surveilled", and what's the most appropriate metric for calculating how surveilled a place is.
I'm not sure exactly what that says about our society and culture, but I'm pretty sure I don't like it.
Or how good of an investment the surveillance tech companies are. Posts or comments about surveillance countermeasures are significantly more likely to be flagged.
>Every major American city make the list of most surveilled places in the world
with a list size of 500.
Anyways, the list seems the top offenders seems to be China (by far) and UK (to an extent). No surprise there.
The list follows a power distribution, so the first few cities on the list are significantly worse than the others. For example, Chongqing and Shenzhen (in first and second place respectively) have around 160 cameras per 1000 people, but Atlanta (first US city on the list, 10th place) only has 13.06 cameras. Other western countries on the list are lower, but don't have much less cameras. Sydney is at 15th place with 12.35 cameras and Berlin is at 19th place with 11.18 cameras.
(Also... holy shit, that's a spammy site. Blocked.)
Example 1: Red light cameras. Only needed at specific intersections that have particular characteristics (high speed? high volume? not sure). The distribution of these probably maps more to physical space than population itself as the spacing of red lights is relatively independent of population.
Example 2: Cameras that are aimed at crime suppression. These will be unevenly distributed around a city depending on where crime happens. Looking at Chicago I see particular neighborhoods heavily blanketed in cameras, others very very sparsely. The distribution of this type of camera would be quite different than traffic-control cameras.
Example 3: Population monitoring cameras. I honestly don't know why China has so many cameras. Are these literally population surveillance cameras? These might be evenly distributed around a city to maximize coverage.
Some of the power law distribution you see might be a result of different cities applying cameras for 1, 2, 3, N different functions (each of which requires a different number of cameras).
Fun fact: Chicago's city hall has a retention period of zero days on its cameras. Go figure.
Does it mean that they have people watching the camera, warning the street police if they find anything, but do no recording?
Did you do a follow up request for whatever that camera actually recorded while you were getting mugged?
What rights do we have? None. 9/11. Terror. How many buildings fell that day?
Panopticon: We've been talking about the NSA, evidence in hand, since 2013, after Clapper lied, under oath, on public television.
Epstein 'suicide': the people who work behind the scenes are beholden to nobody except on paper. "Intelligence" is a free pass to do anything you want.
Overdue for legislation around citizen rights: Of course, in a "free world". Do you expect anything to change? What happens when our cities are covered in drones? One for each person maybe. The CIA had dragonfly drones in the 1970s. In the last five years, we have erected surveillance cameras and tracking sensors absolutely everywhere, in plain sight, and most people somehow simply aren't aware. Others ignore or make excuses. We call politicians "public servants" but government doesn't work "for the people". Government works for government, and it get bigger every day, its budget gets bigger every day, and its power increases because its eyes see farther. Soon there will be no private space left, and people will accept it. It will be suspicious to desire privacy. We still hear a chorus of out-of-touch masses bellowing the programmed refrain "Well, I have nothing to hide". We are reminded that "If you see something, say something". Report anything that does not conform to your idea of normalcy. Get a doorbell cam and connect it with the police. Trust your government. We are entering the end of the road.
The question is rather why would they publicise videos of people being stabbed to death or run over in HD gory details?
But, as said, I don't see the point of publicising videos of people being slaughtered.
I don't care whether you see the point; if I wish to investigate a matter of public or historic interest, why should I be bound by your preferences?
Indeed. That's what I wrote.
I think it's a good thing.
This quote tells us Kenneth Johnson either did not read Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four or doesn't remember it well enough to talk about it.
Indoors also matters a lot.
To this end, I'm really surprised that NYC doesn't make the list, given 9/11.
You mean it may not matter. In practice, it is probably proportional to cameras per area, so it would matter.
If indoor cameras count in this statistic then that throws off what is being watched, the people or the property for insurance purposes.
As I said, that's why it may matter, not why it does.
I think there is a very real tradeoff between safety and privacy, and I personally feel like my city would be better off sacrificing privacy in favor of more safety.
Of course it could be used for dumb shit like giving out jaywalking tickets en-masse. And I'm not sure there's any existing agency I trust to draw the line correctly.
10 Atlanta, United States 15.56
13 Chicago, United States 13.06
29 Washington, D.C., United States 5.61
38 San Francisco, United States 3.07
43 San Diego, United States 2.48
46 Boston, United States 2.23
Honestly, I am not against this but it does strike me a solution looking for a problem.
So in that sense I don't mind cameras. What would bother me is:
a) Excessive video retention. It's useful in the short term as a form of evidence but in the long term it's just creepy.
b) Proactive video analysis (rather than only reacting when something bad happens).
I guess with how cheap storage and compute are now, (a) and (b) are inevitable. So I guess I land on the anti-camera side of things. But I know that if a crime was ever committed against me I'd really hope there was video footage!
The number of cameras will increase dramatically in this additional dimension, particularly as other manufacturers start adding surveillance to their vehicles.
- in general, per capita statistics are wonky for our city due to the unconstrained sprawl. There is a huge portion of our population that uses Atlanta daily but does not live here.
- the cameras are almost entirely for traffic monitoring and preventing crime in midtown/downtown.
Where most people actually live, there is not much in way of surveillance. I am an ACLU member and feel constantly creeped out in London. Atlanta ain't it tho