The federal government’s proposed spending of $18m on CCTV in schools is likely to provide false security. If CCTV really helped schools, why spend only $18m on only 50 schools?
CCTV will not prevent or dissuade incidents at schools.
- Any terrorist attacker is highly likely to be wearing a mask.
- Terrorists want notoriety (ISIS has one of the most effective social media campaigns for a reason) and any CCTV footage of an attack is likely to be seen and used by ISIS as a powerful tool for recruiting or spreading fear far beyond the site of the attack.
- All CCTV does is provide images for post-incident evaluation.
CCTV cannot be very effective, if it was Australian government security standards would specify CCTV for any zones including TOP SECRET areas…but the standards don’t do that.
If CCTV worked, London – with about 1m cameras – would be the safest city in the world.
Most CCTV cameras are so low resolution that they have been labeled ‘legally blind’ by computer imaging experts. Placing low resolution CCTV cameras in schools would be costly, be of questionable value and may compromise the privacy of students.
All the recent horror attacks (London, Paris, etc) have been captured on CCTV: no attack has been prevented.
If there were a significant problem that could be solved by CCTV cameras –shouldn’t the Government invest more than just $18 million and spend the money on more than about 50 schools? And if CCTV cameras aren’t going to solve the problem of preventing terrorist attacks or radicalisation of youth – why waste our money on CCTV when it could be put to much better use in other programs.
See also: https://www.cla.asn.au/News/surveillance-creep-worry-in-schools/
Dr Emmeline Taylor is an academic at ANU.
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