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May 27, 2011

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Spy camera numbers to double

SHANGHAI plans to double the number of surveillance cameras in public places in the next five years to help improve police investigation, local authorities revealed yesterday.

The city will install about 50,000 more surveillance cameras over the next five years, mainly in squares, parks, underground spaces and also along roads.

Tao Yansheng, an officer with the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, said the large number of cameras will boost police investigation of criminal cases and help track suspects.

The annual investment on the closed-circuit television would be between 500 million yuan (US$77 million) to 1 billion yuan. The city's docks, airports and railway stations will be fully covered by CCTV by then, Tao said.

Though the large-scale installation of cameras is ostensibly for safety purposes, some residents worry about their privacy and freedom.

Joachim Dias, an Indian living in the city, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that he does not like the idea of more public surveillance cameras, saying there were already enough of those prying gadgets in Shanghai.

"It's ridiculous. I should be allowed privacy in public places as well. But everywhere there are cameras now, including in elevators. I don't like 'big brother' watching over me," said Dias.

Tong Meiqian, a local resident, supports idea, saying law breakers will have less chance of escaping. "It'd better include face recognition technology as well," Tong said.

On privacy issues, she said that it won't be a problem if the cameras were just restricted to public areas.


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