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Big Brother about to 'speak' and chastise across Britain

The British government is expanding a system that uses speakers attached to surveillance TVs to reprimand litterbugs and others engaged in anti-social behaviour.

The British government is expanding a system that uses speakers attached to surveillance TVs to reprimand litterbugs and others engaged in anti-social behaviour.

"Gentleman in the padded jacket, please retrieve your [soft drink] from the bench and place it in the bin provided," is the kind of message people will hear.

After a successful test in Middlesbrough in northeast Britain earlier this year, the government said Wednesday it's paying to install the system in 20 other locations.

Britain has about four million Closed Circuit Television cameras (CCTVs)used to monitor public spaces. With the addition of the speakers, the observer in a CCTV control room can now "talk" to someone causing a problem.

Fighters put down their dukes, litterbugs sheepishly picked up their garbage and skateboarders stopped rolling through traffic when the disembodied voice addressed them, the government said in a news release.

"We've already found that instead of sweeping the town centre six times a day, we're now sweeping it four times a day," said MiddlesbroughCoun. Barry Coppinger.

But critics like Simon Hill, who has written a book about Britain's surveillance society, saidthe idea is crazy.

"Apart from being absurd, I think it's rather sad that we should have faceless cameras barking at us."

The new systems will appear in communities such as Blackpool, Coventry, Derby and twoLondon boroughs later this year, the government said.