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Concept.png CCTV 
(mass surveillanceSourcewatch
A 2008 mural by Banksy.[1] Westminster City Council later ordered its removal.[2]

CCTV, (Closed-circuit_television) provides (and generally records) live video footage of public or private spaces. This is a potentially welcome development as regards hampering the fabrication of mendacious official narratives. However, most (if not all?) national governments have failed to address the legal aspect of this, with the result that CCTV footage of "terrorist" events is persistently unavailable or lost.

Official narrative

CCTV is originally about monitoring people for their own sake. Honest and law abiding citizens have nothing to fear from its increasingly universal adoption by authorities. Crime prevention is a key driver behind the implementation of CCTV cameras.


The "the total failure of CCTV to deter people from committing crimes in the first place"[3] has not deterred the ever wider deployment of CCTV, suggesting that other motives might be driving this technological roll out. Tony Porter stated that as regards UK CCTV usage, "there is a gap between what exists and what should exist." In 2015, he opined that less than 2% of UK public authorities were operating CCTV cameras in compliance with "any British standard".[4]

Control of access to CCTV footage

CCTV evidence, although it could be made publicly available, for example, by being live streamed to the internet, is generally under the control of the few who set up the systems. Even where these are public authorities, spending public money and nominally acting for the good of the public, because it is controlled by a central authority, footage tends to remain under tight control, only released on an ad hoc basis when it suits the interests of those who set up the cameras.

Secrecy of CCTV footage

Le Monde reported on 22 July 2016, after the Nice truck event a judge ordered that all recordings for 18 hours before the attack, on 1256 CCTV cameras in Nice be erased before being shown to anyone. The mayor refused to grant this demand[5] but it is unknown whether footage was made public.

Secrecy of camera locations

In 2016 a federal judge blocked the disclosure of where the FBI has attached surveillance cams on Seattle utility poles.[6]

'Missing CCTV' footage

The widespread use of CCTV could provide valuable evidence in the case of acts of terrorism, though it is more notable for is absence in this respect. Specifically, in the following instances:

  • 1995: Oklahoma City bombing - In response to a suit by Jesse Trentadue, the US government gave up 26 tapes, but they all have parts of the footage missing between 8:54am and 9:02am, ostensibly because the tapes were being changed at this time.[7] These do not include the CCTV of the Murrah building; in response to a FOIA request, the FBI claims to have lost the tapes of the Murrah building, although Trentadue claims that an anonymous source told him that he had seen that video.[8][9]
  • 1997: Diana Princess of Wales/Death - No CCTV footage of the crash has been made available. It is unclear whether any exists.
  • 2001: 9-11/Pentagon - The FBI confiscate all CCTV footage from nearby cameras for reasons of "National security", arriving at a nearby gas station "within minutes".[10] Of the Pentagon's (presumably many) CCTV cameras, footage from only a single camera has been released[When?] - and that is missing a crucial frame.
  • 2005: 7 July 2005 London bombings - Verint systems took control of London Transport's CCTV 10 months before the attacks, and have never released any footage, claiming that none of the relevant cameras were working. Footage from mainline station CCTV cameras was released, 3 years after the event.

Incorrect footage

CNN aired CCTV which it claimed were of the 2016 Mass murder in Brussels, but which were of a different incident.