Monday, March 07, 2005

I hardly know what to say

The police are quite excited by the prospects for use of surveillence cameras to decrease crime. It started locally with Lynne Abraham's promotion of automatic cameras to catch intersection-runners, and now they picture limitless applications. One is perhaps not surprised that the ACLU sees this as a challenge to civil liberties:
"It captures not just what bad people do. It captures all of us. And we have a right, until we've done something wrong, to walk around and do what we want," said Larry Frankel, legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.
More amazing to me is this quote from Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson:
"People have the mentality it's a 'Big Brother' thing," he said, "but if Big Brother can stop crime and violence, that's exactly what we need, and I'm for it."
Well, the trains sure ran on time in 1940s Germany...
Peter Crabb, a psychology professor at Pennsylvania State University's Abington campus, has researched how such technology affects both the watchers and those being watched. He has found that users "get used to invading people's privacy."

"It makes respect for individual rights sort of fly out the window."
Judging by the Johnson quote, we're pretty much already there.


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