Land of the Observed
Hoboken: Land of the Observed
My feelings about “video surveillance” have varied throughout the years. I believe that private video recording is perfectly okay (and very well should be), to protect your property and land. Those types of (non-monitored) installations might prove useful if your property or well being is threatened, and can help in nabbing who violated your rights. But monitored surveillance (by some kind of “public authority”) is not a trend I’m comfortable with. We’re going from “land of the free” to “land of the observed and judged” at a break-neck pace.
Cameras at public parks. Traffic light cameras. Highway cameras. Satellites. You know the drill. And there’s a good chance a live human being is sitting there watching you. And paid for with money from you and your neighbors. You can’t opt out.
Imagine if you and your friends felt like engaging in a fun “play fight” along the waterfront one fine spring day? You know, to show off your kickboxing talents? Well, then there’s a good chance some cop will be down there “investigating” you doing what you consented to do, asking for ID, running a check, etc. Just because they “thought” something was going on on the video screen. Would you be okay with that? I certainly wouldn’t want anyone meddling in my business.
Those in support of public monitoring will likely say that this kind of intrusion will “help solve crimes” and keep bad guys off the streets. But I don’t think they’ve had any kind of notable impact on safety. Our streets are already safe all things considered. And if someone is hell-bent on committing a crime, they often don’t care about what their chances of being caught are. You know, they’re either too drunk or deranged to give a crap before the “damage is done.”
At what point does it “cross the line” for you?
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