Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Take A Picture

The proliferation of security cameras has been an issue with those concerned with privacy and personal freedom. There isn't really much of an argument against making visual recordings in public and private spaces. After all, we can see people there, perhaps draw a sketch of them, why should video tape be such a big deal? Well, it is to the cops, they don't want their activities recorded for use in court against them and in some jurisdictions the law is on their side. But that's another issue.  There are over 170 security cameras looking over the spectators at the Minnesota Twins Target Field. The activity recorded by the cameras is stored for 65 days.  Acceptance of this is related to two things.  First of all, it's a technological advance.  People seem to buy into stuff that's new and operates on a higher level that they understand in a basic kind of way, like lie detectors, fingerprints, dna typing, etc.  Second, it's invisible.  If the Twins had 170 security officers walking around with cameras and notebooks, recording everything that happened, the fans might stay home and watch the game on TV.  Maybe that's how it used to be at hockey games in the USSR.  Lots of domestic intelligence service in the stands.

 If it's OK for a camera in an ATM to record your image while you withdraw funds, shouldn't you be able to record the lady at the bank that takes your deposit? Or the clerk at Target that swipes your credit card? You don't know that person, it might be a good idea to have a record of their appearance, just in case. Just about every stranger we deal with should be recorded. Or at least they should think that they're being recorded. My recommendation is that we all carry a broken cell phone or a cheap, maybe inoperative digital camera and pretend to record every stranger with whom we have an interaction, or just anybody walking by. Can't be anything wrong with that.

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