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Attention, Camera! In the Network of Total Surveillance
Year: 2000
Run-Time: 1 x 43 min.

Written by Elisabeth Scharang, Thomas Edlinger

ORF

Languages: German (ORIGINAL)
Format: 16:9 , 16:9

Attention, Camera! In the Network of Total Surveillance

Achtung, Kamera! Im Netzwerk der totalen Überwachung

Rotterdam, April 2000: 50,000 fanatic soccer fans stream to the annual Dutch match of Feyenoord Rotterdam against Ajax Amsterdam. Dozens of high-tech cameras with extremely fast lenses watch over every square meter of the stadium. Video surveillance had its beginnings in England. More and more cameras have been installed there since the 1970s: at first only in the stadium, then in front of it, then in the center of the city, and now in the pub. Meanwhile, more than 1,000,000 cameras control public space on the island. Most of the inhabitants affected approve of them. Police and the security industry have been working on the next stage for a long time. Intelligent camera software that can decide between "suspicious" and "normal" behavior is supposed to replace the thousands of security personnel currently needed in the control areas. The security industry is experiencing an unprecedented boom. Multinational companies such as "Group 4" not only offer surveillance systems for big business locations, they also sell increasing numbers of security packages for the ordinary person - alarm systems for garden houses. At the biggest European specialized trade fair in Birmingham, the Austrian "Group 4" delegation also has a look at the most recent innovations at the high-end of security applications. But electronic surveillance is not limited to cameras alone. Telephone conversations and e-mails are systematically sorted through for information related to secret service activities. While in England various civil rights supporters, such as Simon Davis of "Privacy International", warn of the "norming" of society and see a dawning of "the end of privacy", there is very little awareness of the problem on the European continent. This FOCAL POINT documentary investigates the question of whether Europe is threatened with a European Surveillance Union, or whether the matter is simply one of an overdue improvement in police equipment needed for the fight against organized crime.
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