After looking last week at the increasing concerns being flagged up over the safety of wireless networking I was interested to see an announcement that the City of Westminster authorities have approved plans to roll out extended wireless services across the heart of London.  The project aims to deliver a world-class service to residents, business and visitors of the borough.

The network is to be constructed by contractors and partners such as BT, Intel and Cisco who have worked with the authorities during the pilot phase.  This project recently won the IDC EMEA 2006 Award for ICT Innovation and Business Transformation; a prestigious award within the IT sector in Europe.

Initially services will be rolled out in the West End, a busy area servicing many businesses and government departments; later the network will expand to cover many residential areas and eventually the entire borough.  Paid Internet access will be provided through the network along with free access to tourist information and local council services for residents.

Another use of the pilot project has been to carry communications for a new wireless CCTV network.  This network so far consists of 38 wireless CCTV cameras which are controlled from a central operating centre.  From here police and… parking attendants can be directed to incidents.  During the pilot project parking attendants were directed to 3556 parking contraventions, 211 obstructions and moved on1468 vehicles.  The city council report, “Using wireless CCTV a total of 58 incidents have been reported. Of these 9 related to violent crimes, 19 to drug offences, 14 to anti-social behaviour, 5 to car crime and 4 to theft.  In addition to 15 arrests, police have responded to incidents resulting in 5 victims being hospitalised, 2 cautions, and 20 ’police stops’ where the police intervene and question suspects at the scene.”

It seem that the ‘big brother’ culture developing in Britain is set to continue.  I find myself worrying about the security implications of a wireless CCTV network; if security is breached the implications could be colossal.

More information can be found on the City of Westminster website.