Britain has a CCTV camera for every 11 people including 750,000 in “sensitive locations” such as schools and hospitals, British Security Industry Authority (BSIA) says.
The BSIA said there are up to 5.9 million closed-circuit cameras across Britain dramatically raising the previous estimates that put the number of cameras somewhere between 1.5 million and four million.
“Because there is no single reliable source of data no number can ever be held as truly accurate however the middle of our range suggests that there are around five million cameras,” Simon Adcock, of the BSIA, said.
The revelations drew angry criticism from privacy campaigners Big Brother Watch who described the CCTV culture as a sign of an ailing democracy in Britain.
“This report is another stark reminder of how out of control our surveillance culture has become,” Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles said.
“With potentially more than five million CCTV cameras across country, including more than 300,000 cameras in schools, we are being monitored in a way that few people would recognize as a part of a healthy democratic society,” he added.
Pickles also compared the situation to the dystopia represented in George Orwell’s 1984 novel.
“This report should be a wakeup call that in modern Britain there are people in positions of responsibility who seem to think ‘1984’ was an instruction manual,” he said.
The novel pictures a society where every single private move of the citizens in the then future Britain of 1984 is monitored by the eye of the state.