Report finds the US has the largest number of surveillance cameras per person in the world

Humza

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

PreciseSecurity notes the definition of a CCTV as "a TV system in which signals are not publicly distributed but are monitored, primarily for surveillance and security purposes," and found that the US tops the list when it comes to the number of surveillance camera installations per capita, with 50 million CCTVs monitoring the entire US population of over 327 million people.

However, in terms of overall CCTV installations, China eclipses that figure by four times and was reported to have at least 200 million cameras installed for its 1.39 billion people. Since it has to cover a much larger population than (most) other countries, the number of CCTV cameras per 100 people comes out at 14.36, as compared to 15.28 for the US.

Notable absentees from the above data include Russia, India, and Brazil, which, according to PreciseSecurity, only reported CCTV installation data for a few cities. India had 274,784 cameras spread over nine major cities, while Russia had a total of 195,000 cameras in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Brazil was noted to have 22,384 CCTVs among 10 major cities.

When it comes to the world's most surveilled cities for every 100 people, China dominates the list with 8 entries in the top 10. The only places not in China include London, which makes an appearance at number 6 and Atlanta at number 10, where a population of over half-a-million citizens is monitored by 7,800 cameras.

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Vulcanproject

TS Evangelist
China will rapidly surpass that with ever increasing urbanization. They won't be happy until they basically Minority Report the country, albeit with facial recognition rather than iris.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
I find it interesting that the measurement is “cameras per person”... a camera can few an unlimited amount of people - it is limited by its location!

A better unit of measurement would be “cameras per square kilometer (or mile)”.

After all, if I’m only monitoring my room, I don’t need 50 cameras - even if I’m expecting 200 visitors!
 
I find it interesting that the measurement is “cameras per person”... a camera can few an unlimited amount of people - it is limited by its location!

A better unit of measurement would be “cameras per square kilometer (or mile)”.

After all, if I’m only monitoring my room, I don’t need 50 cameras - even if I’m expecting 200 visitors!
That's not a bad idea. It would definitely skew their conclusions a bit:
-- Netherlands: 24.071 cameras per square km
-- UK: 20.619 cameras per square km
-- China: 20.604 cameras per square km
-- Germany: 14.550 cameras per square km
-- Japan: 13.228 cameras per square km
-- South Korea: 10.263 cameras per square km
-- Vietnam: 7.850 cameras per square km
-- USA: 5.085 cameras per square km
-- France: 2.575 cameras per square km
-- Australia: 0.130 cameras per square km

The only unfair advantage that Australia has is that it has so much uninhabited space that some areas make Montana look crowded. However, while I'm not super surprised at the UK's standing (as it seems like half of the BBC shows, or movies set in the UK, always include something about accessing the CCTV footage to track down criminals, spies, etc.), I'm surprised at the Dutch beating out the Chinese for camera density.
 

Slappy McPhee

TS Addict
Thus suggesting that China and the US both are the least trusting of it's citizens than any other country on earth. What does this say about communism vs. democracy?
I would have to wager that this *report* would be including security cameras and systems also purchased by the general public for their own purposes especially since the verbiage is " not publicly distributed but are monitored, primarily for surveillance and security purposes". I have a half dozen security cameras in my system and it is not publicly distributed as well. Either way their verbiage should be resolved if that isn't the case and also it needs to be remembered that many of the government issued cameras are speed cameras to generate further municipal revenue. I have driven through cities that have them at literally EVERY since traffic intersection with lights. Even some cities where there are just stop signs that they will issue tickets using the AI to determine whether a driver comes to a complete stop before continuing on their journey.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Obviously, since this is a security firm, what is their ulterior motive for doing it in the first place?

So do they think we have too many cameras? No that's a stupid reason.

So they want us to install more of theirs, and hire them to monitor them? Well, that's a really stupid way of going about it.

Wait I know! This is like Backblaze telling us now many of their hard drives fail a year, as a way of making themselves known, and in the meanwhile humbly bragging about how many drives they have.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Thus suggesting that China and the US both are the least trusting of it's citizens than any other country on earth. What does this say about communism vs. democracy?...[ ]...
In full awareness of, and in spite of that fact that the majority of your questions are rhetorical at best, I'm going to answer this one anyway.

Fist of all, this is a flawed measurement. The majority of public surveillance is done in public places and buildings, where it's needed. The "population: density" in those areas is vastly higher than in any place in China than perhaps in Beijing and Hong Kong.

As for our supposedly "free society", keep in mind the "freedom" gives a carte blanch opportunity to do either good or evil. "Human nature", isn't a property predisposed to doing good, far from it. Ergo, you need more cameras in "the hood", where you can buy crack and heroin at every other door. You need an entire row of cameras and interlocking doors at some of our local banks, to maintain the "freedom" of the bank's legal patrons.

You don't need more cameras at an Iowa corn farm, but you need to install exponential multiples of cameras at the same area of any wildlife preserve, to prevent the extinction of certain, if not all species, save for Homo sapiens.

I'm not normally disposed to call an article, "clickbait", but in this case I will, due to that fact our writers should be absolved from all guilt, since they merely served it up, in the form they received it.
 

quadibloc

TS Addict
Still, those in the United States are used legitimately to protect against crime, while those in China are often used to suppress political dissent. So I would not be overly concerned with the United States.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Still, those in the United States are used legitimately to protect against crime, while those in China are often used to suppress political dissent. So I would not be overly concerned with the United States.
Even with the number of cameras in use, by law enforcement AND private citizens, we still have massive episodes of vandalism and assault captured on camera, and the perpetrators very often, aren't caught. Arguably, that could mean we still need more, and better quality cameras. Surveillance footage very often is of so low quality it's useless.

The cameras in the US, are placed strategically to assist in preventing crime, as in my bank example above.

That said ski masks are dirt cheap. So if you see someone putting one on in July, have the good sense to call 911 immediately! :eek:

The only people who are "overly concerned about the US camera count", are those who would be hating on us for whatever other reason they could think up anyway.
 
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captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Thus suggesting that China and the US both are the least trusting of it's citizens than any other country on earth. What does this say about communism vs. democracy?
Since the US and China are distrustful of their citizens for mostly different reasons, it says the correlation you've made is pretty much null and void.

We haven't reached the point where you need to be scanned for facial recognition to obtain a mobile wireless account. (Thank god). But too many more terror attacks and school shootings may place us in the same boat.

People always talk about the "one percenters", at the top of the wealth ladder, but they seldom acknowledge the "one percenters ar the bottom of the social ladder, whose sociopathy, violence, and stupidity, serve to take away every one else's freedoms.
 
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Markoni35

TS Maniac
Comparing apples and oranges.

The number of cameras per person says nothing. Even cameras per square km says nothing. Because United States has lots of deserts and uninhabited places. So does Australia. It should be "cameras per square km in urbanized areas".

But even that is irrelevant, since the entire system counts. United States now has drones that use a single camera to track thousands of people from the altitude of 5 km. That's just one camera per large area, but tracks everything: people, cars, trucks, buses, maybe even animals. It recognizes people by their walking style, usual routes, cars from which they exited, etc. This is integrated with cellphone data (GPS, triangulation from cellular towers, wifi networks) for improved identification.

So the number of cameras alone says nothing. I think United States and China both control their people with camera systems more than North Korea. And Russia isn't even close.
 
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MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
Thus suggesting that China and the US both are the least trusting of it's citizens than any other country on earth. What does this say about communism vs. democracy?
I agree this is clickbait. There are many other factors, most important being America's rich capitalist society has made cheap electronics easy to come by. I'll bet we lead per-capita internet connected devices and GB of data consumption too. none of it has to do with overbearing governments.

Comparing apples and oranges.

The number of cameras per person says nothing. Even cameras per square km says nothing. Because United States has lots of deserts and uninhabited places. So does Australia. It should be "cameras per square km in urbanized areas".
The important thing is what's done with the footage! In China they load the video into a server that can track your face and where you go. In the US, the video is kept for about 24 hours just in case the door it's watching gets broken into.

The US has a lot of cameras because a) they're cheap and b) we care about security. the camera outside Andy's gas station is not big brother.