With terrorism and talk of beefed-up security dominating the news, it may come as a surprise Ottawa spends up to $2 million a year on electronic security devices -- yet most cameras at city buildings are never monitored.
I can deal with the justification that round-the-clock monitoring of the city's existing security infrastructure would be prohibitively expensive for comparatively little benefit, but I'm liking this explanation a lot less:
It's not that uncommon for security cameras generally to be left unmonitored, according to Martin Rudner, director of the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies at Carleton University.
Even if staff were watching the cameras all day, it may not make much difference, and could increase fear and anxiety among citizens.
"I think we want to have a society which is not driven by fear," Mr. Rudner said. "It increases the terrorism in society. It gives them what they want."
So are the cameras meant as a deterrent or not, then? We've seen, in the July 7 bombings, that terrorists aren't deterred by the threat of being caught on camera; giant panopticon that London is, it didn't seem to bother them. If the cameras are installed and recording, regardless, how would it "increase fear and anxiety" to actually be paying attention to what they might be catching on screen? You can't have the deterrence argument both ways.