The real threat comes not from CCTV but from its application to identifying citizens, then tracking and recording their lives. This phase of CCTV is only just beginning, but will be heavily upon us, very soon.
We can get a glimpse of this in China, as described by Naomi Klein:
Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras … Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder's personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.
China's All-Seeing Eye
Naomi Klein, May 14th, 2008, Rolling Stone
Authors such as Naomi Klein and Greg Walton have pointed out the role of the West in supplying this surveillance technology to China. Our governments have shown no moral scruples and far too much interest in this convenient field-trial of repression.
If we can’t trust the morality or ethics of our governments, can we really trust them with the enormous power they are assembling?