“You’re on Candid Camera!”

You may remember the name Alan Funt and the catchphrase, “You’re on Candid Camera!” For those uninitiated, Candid Camera is an American hidden camera/practical joke reality television series that involved concealing cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, when the joke was revealed, victims would be told the show’s catchphrase, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.” It seems now that Alan Funt should be the next Mayor of London, as it has become the surveillance capital of the world. With one camera for every 14 people in the city, it is thought that you may be seen by as many as 300 cameras in one day. Now while the accepted idea has been that this surveillance was in place to reduce crime it seems that only  3% of the crimes are solved using closed-circuit television.

So why are Londoners being recorded everywhere they go, more than anywhere else on earth. One may also ask the same reason why Google and other internet companies are tracking us. While the idea that this is solely so that companies can market their products and services to us does sound plausible, the fact is they are tracking our every move, as a recent New York Times article noted, you are being tracked almost every moment of the day to almost your exact latitude and longitude. Now while it would be pretty to think that this is all to give us the convenience of having what someone else thinks we might need brought to us, it begs the question, is this anything that we as humans really need? Is there not something to be said for the quest of anything in one’s life? By the same measure, what is the need for Londoners to be tracked from place to place? Unfortunately, the more plausible truth is that someone is profiting off all of these transactions, either in financial currency or in the manipulation of power. You can control people by controlling the options that they have to choose from and by manipulating the ideas of what is acceptable to be “safe”. Anyone who has children has used the , a method of controlling the choices of a child to make them feel as if they have power over a very controlled outcome, for example, “You can wear either the red or the blue t-shirt to school” rather than a myriad of choices. While we may not like the idea that we are being controlled like children, we should like even less than we are being surveilled to also keep us under control. Surveillance is expensive and why should we be surprised that London, the financial capital of the world, the wealthy are doing everything to keep their status protected. You can control what you can predict, and how do we learn to predict but by watching past behavior.

Now there are those who may think this is all being too cynical but then, what would be the other choice, that we are being watched over by benevolent machines and the wealthy whose concern is our highest good? Yes, that must be it…

Candid Camera, Mayor of London, Alan Funt, surveillance capital of the world, concealed cameras, closed circuit television, Google, Internet stalking, human need, Londoners, controlled choice, financial capital of the world, surveillance, predicting , watching past behavior,


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