My new favourite hobby on the bus is to watch the CCTV images that are relayed to screens around the shiny new double deckers on my way into College. My favourite view is the dashboard cam (closely followed by the one at the back of the ground floor which lets you read whatever the person sitting below it is reading). The dashboard cam has an overlay indicating braking and indicators, and I guess makes the video system a bit of a black-box device for buses.
The pictures from the dashboard cam are reminiscent of police patrol cameras, and are the only ones specifically of external goings-on. But it’s notable how much of the exterior is caught by the interior cameras (9 or ten of them by my count) – and so, depending on your political leanings, count them as mobile street cameras bristling with “prying” eyes. I’ve heard on the radio that the police have used passing buses’ cameras to help solve crimes (although there was a recent case where a driver got stabbed while his bus was lacking film: it was being used to help with another enquiry). Will there ever be a time when a police foot patrol could consider diverting a passing bus to point its multitude of high resolution colour cameras towards an ongoing crime?
And is the use of the film properly supervised? I’m not a civil liberties nut, but I sure as hell don’t trust David Blunkett – the ultimate symbol of a big-brother authoritarian, who really, really shouldn’t be home secretary. Has he managed to bollocks up the privacy rules on CCTV yet, in the same way he’s trying to ride roughshod over every other piece of privacy laws in the country?