Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Surveillance cameras survey all life


Surveillance cameras survey all parts of daily life according to this USA Today story. Justified by the terrorist attacks of September 2001, unblinking video camera lenses seem to now stare at us from nearly every public place. It keeps some people from being themselves in public because they know they are being watched. If you act silly or playful under a security camera, your actions can be misinterpreted as sinister or even criminal.

The creepy part is that many surveillance cameras operated by public agencies are being networked for wide access by law enforcement and government officials, fed into facial recognition software to scan for known bad guys and archived for future use. It isn't beyond the limit of imagination that innocents could be erroneously connected to criminal activity because they were in a public place at the same time bad guys pass by. Assuming the bad guys can even be identified from the cameras in the first place.

Even most detectives in crime dramas seen in current popular entertainment seem to first resort to surveillance camera footage. Even though fictional and silly supposed "enhancement" technology is absurd beyond belief, the idea that video footage can solve a crime is foolish. That footage may show what happened, but not whodunnit (reliably).

Most of us feel offended if a human in a public place stares at us for any length of time. The fact that most of us DON'T feel offended when video cameras do the same is just strange. You can't avoid those cameras in public places (and even more creepy, in some private places) but the fact that we accept them so easily - without protest - is just sad.

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posted by RealitySEO at 9:46 AM

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