It is hard to go anywhere that you are not being video recorded. Between private camera phones, police dashboard cameras, body cameras, neighbor surveillance cameras, and private security cameras, the chances are very good that at many points in time you are captured digitally. Many people are concerned that George Orwell’s “1984”is now here, albeit a bit late. In my opinion, this could not be further from the truth. We should not be too concerned ab out being digitally captured, that is unless you are doing something that would not be prudent to have captured. The question is, is the good news for the good guys and bad news for the bad guys. . .or the other way around?
Crime watch cameras are popping up all over the country. It is the latest thing to be doing if you want to be one of the cool communities and not be ostracized by all the other communities. But putting up cameras is just a first step and doesn’t do much except give people a warm and fuzzy feeling that they are now, somehow, safer than they were before. The more cameras installed, the safer they feel. In my opinion, this is just not the case. First question, who is monitoring the camera feed? Is the camera feed even being watched? If a citizen is walking down the street and is accosted in some fashion, will the event be noticed? If by luck, the camera is pointed in the right direction, the event may be recorded. That doesn’t mean it will be watched, or noticed. If a number of cameras are being monitored, that lessens the chances of the offenses being noticed. The more cameras being monitored, the smaller slice of time is spent on each feed. It becomes random chance that someone will look at the camera that is looking at you, notice something is amiss, and notify someone to respond.
So the question is, is putting cameras up a good investment of taxpayers money? Probably not. The one true value that I see is recorded video gives and investigator the opportunity to go back in time to witness a criminal event. Again, random chance plays into this scenario. Many cameras are not fixed, but on tour. This means the camera sweeps slowly through a predetermined area. The chances are, a camera could record a person walking down the street, move off, and when it returns, it is now recording the dead body lying on the street, but not the events that turning the walking person into a dead person. But, perhaps you are lucky. Perhaps the camera witnesses the whole event. Now, all we have to hope for is that the area was well-lit, that the perpetrator faced the camera, and that the camera definition was high enough to make recognition possible. Most cameras can be zoomed in fairly close, but not after the fact.
There are still those who feel it is an invasion of privacy to have government surveillance, whether it is effective or not. Personally, I think it comes down to a reasonable expectation of privacy. In my opinion, a person walking down the street has no reasonable expectation of privacy. They are on view to any person who happens to be looking their way. Now if you happen to be walking down the street with someone you should not be walking down the street with, you may have a small concern, but very small at best, due to the reasons given above. Government is not using the cameras to peer into your bedroom windows, government is not using thee cameras to track your every movement, and government is not using these cameras to keep track of honest citizens engaged in honest endeavors. So be not afraid, at least not yet. The technology is not yet there to emulate “1984”, not even close. On the other side of that coin, if you are in an unsavory part of town, do not count on cameras to keep you safe. If you do, it could be your dead body the camera finds at the end of its tour.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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