A British watchdog group called Big Brother Watch is upset over some new closed circuit security cameras in London that have the ability to speak.
The cameras, in the Walker House estate near London's St Pancras, were installed in September. An American voice warned users to leave, including residents and legitimate visitors. The pre-recorded message says: "Stop, this is a restricted area and your photograph is being taken. It will be sent for processing if you don't leave the area now."
Nick Pickles, of pressure group Big Brother Watch, condemned the installation. "This kind of technology may be acceptable in a police state or a science fiction film, but it is absolutely not in modern Britain", he said.
There is no mention that the American voice the cameras use is further inflaming the situation, but there's no way it's helping. It doesn't take a xenophobe to get mad about a machine speaking to you in a foreign accent. If you were stepping onto a New York City subway and, suddenly, a robotic British voice said, "Please do mind the gap," you might try to get your shoe wedged between the door and the platform just out of spite.
Also, the camera's message is so lengthy. "Stop, this is a restricted area and your photograph is being taken. It will be sent for processing if you don't leave the area now." That's too many words for a not-person to say. They should really tighten that up.
And, one more thing. Nick Pickles. As a person with the name, Noah Garfinkel, I have no right to comment on the silliness of someone else's name. But, feel free to try it yourself at home. If you can't think of anything good, just try just singing "Nick Pickles" in your head to the tune of the Hot Pockets jingle. You'll have a good time.
[Image via AP]