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Routes of Least Surveillance
November 28, 2001 7:31 AM   Subscribe

Routes of Least Surveillance
It's not the journey or the destination; it's the getting there unseen that counts. (if you hate Wired, don't click the link)
posted by Irontom (24 comments total)

 
My favorite quote from the article is from a guy who sells camera systems:

But Alex Mathieson, marketing manager for video systems at Sensormatic Electronics, a fire and security company, said iSee is "inappropriate."

He suggested privacy zealots "should stay at home."

posted by Irontom at 7:32 AM on November 28, 2001


If I was a criminal (which I'm not anymore) I might find this service handy...
I.e. - where can I mug someone or run to without video evidence?
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 7:46 AM on November 28, 2001


Or, if you just don't like the image of 1984 staring at you everywhere you go, you might like to know if it is even possible to go anywhere without being seen.

Potential use by criminals is never a reason not to offer a product or service.

Otherwise, buying a gun could be considered criminal intent, and that is not where I want to live.
posted by Irontom at 7:49 AM on November 28, 2001


Prediction: a version of this service winds up featured in a future episode of Law and Order or one of its spinoffs. (It'll show up as a minor complication in the investigation of first half of the episode. The two cops will exchange oneliners about it roughly echoing the positions embodied in the posts above).
posted by BT at 8:00 AM on November 28, 2001


(insert witty referance to Monty Python's How Not To Be Seen sketch here)
posted by TacoConsumer at 8:05 AM on November 28, 2001


Buying a gun should be considered criminal intent.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 8:54 AM on November 28, 2001


Not according to the Constitution and 200+ years of tradition and legal precedent.
posted by Irontom at 9:06 AM on November 28, 2001


He suggested privacy zealots "should stay at home."

Well, I used to feel at home in the city and country in which I live, but so much not anymore, because of all these friggin cameras, among other things.
posted by donkeymon at 9:06 AM on November 28, 2001


"The demonstrated tendency of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) operators to single out ethnic minorities for observation and to voyeuristically focus on women's breasts and buttocks provides the majority of the population ample legitimate reasons to avoid public surveillance cameras."

Ethnic minorities commit a disproportionately large amount of street crime, so of course the operators are going to pay them more attention. Similarly, they will spend less time observing old people, well dressed business men, women, etc. And so they should.

And as for the voyeur argument, I think this must be a very rare occurrence. It is likely that the actions of the operators are recorded and I'd like to think they don't work without any supervision.

The only people who have any real reason to fear surveillance cameras are criminals.
posted by MarkC at 9:11 AM on November 28, 2001


Law & Order has already used the 'tracking people's whereabouts by getting FastLane / EZPass data' twice already. And those are the ones I can remember.

Plus there was one that has to do with an ATM camera and a kidnapping of a little girl...

Note: clicking the link will take you to the official law and order site, where you can read about the case of Sean P-Diddy Combs 'Darryl G-Trane Collins' and Jennifer Lopez Allie Lawrence (who's an actor, not a singer, so they can't get sued).
posted by zpousman at 9:20 AM on November 28, 2001


The only people who have any real reason to fear surveillance cameras are criminals.


Now you are depending on slimy, corrupt politicians not to criminalize you by passing unconstitutional laws. Good luck -- you'll need it.


posted by anewc2 at 9:25 AM on November 28, 2001


Something to watch over us. From a 1999 BBC article on CCTV in Britain: Per capita there are more surveillance cameras in the UK than any other country in the world - more than a million according to one recent estimate. The average city dweller can expect to be captured on film every five minutes...Their role in helping to fight crime has doubtless endeared us to this "necessary evil"...But one person's surveillance camera is another's spy lens and several cases have revealed the technology is open to abuse...the case of one CCTV operator in Glamorgan who was convicted of more than 200 obscenity charges after using cameras to spy on women and then make obscene phone calls to them from the control room."
posted by Carol Anne at 9:33 AM on November 28, 2001


The only people who have any real reason to fear surveillance cameras are criminals.

Or those who oppose surveillance on more philosophical grounds - sort of a "Let me live free" kind of vibe.
posted by Irontom at 9:37 AM on November 28, 2001


Or those who oppose surveillance on more philosophical grounds - sort of a "Let me live free" kind of vibe.


And do you ask other people using the street to look away when you're out? If you have an intense fear of being watched, maybe this will help.

Anyway, your lofty philosophical ideals are a small price to pay for a lower crime rate.
posted by MarkC at 9:49 AM on November 28, 2001


Ethnic minorities commit a disproportionately large amount of street crime, so of course the operators are going to pay them more attention.

Do they? Or are they merely arrested more frequently?
posted by donovan at 9:57 AM on November 28, 2001


MarkC: Do you really trust those in charge of the system not to abuse their power? To track down enemies, spy on their spouse, etc. Or imagine, organized crime members who get employment as monitors. It'd make their jobs a lot easier, I betcha.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:12 AM on November 28, 2001


Anyway, your lofty philosophical ideals are a small price to pay for a lower crime rate.

NO - they are NOT. Crime rates are lower per capita than they have been since 1972 (says the FBI) and they have been going down every year since 1972.

And, we didnt have a video-surveillance-state going then, so we don't need it now.

I do not ask other people to turn their heads when I go out, because they don't keep pictures of me, or use computerized devices to identify me. There's a big fat difference between John Q. Citizen on the street, and a database of pics designed to keep track of my every movement.

My intense fear is not of being watched, but of the almost inevitable tendency of people in power to want to control me and the rest of the citizenry.
posted by Irontom at 10:46 AM on November 28, 2001


The article mentions that this site plans to expand to Seattle. If so I plan to use it. I already keep an eye out for video cameras; perhaps this site will show me some I haven't noticed.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:52 AM on November 28, 2001


Mars -- want to help me start a local chapter of the Surveillance Camera Players?
posted by jessamyn at 12:44 PM on November 28, 2001


All right, people, who spilled the eggnog latte off camera?
posted by Carol Anne at 2:47 PM on November 28, 2001


Maybe Wim Wenders' failed effort, The End of Violence, wasn't so off-base with its depiction of a L.A. completely populated with cameras.
posted by ed at 5:01 PM on November 28, 2001


oooh jessamyn - that sounds fun. Certainly more interesting than simply making faces at the cameras, which is what I generally do...

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 6:15 PM on November 28, 2001


But, what do you do when the cameras are in your home?

Should divorced parents in a visitation dispute, with allegations of abuse, be forced to have video cameras in their homes? A family law practioner friend who heard about this thought it was a good idea, but I have reservations. Yes, they were the ones who asked for the cameras, and the judge was happy to oblige. Then they thought about their ex-spouses watching every minute of their lives at home, and tried to renege upon the request. The decision is on appeal. Any guesses as to what the appellate judge will decide?
posted by bragadocchio at 10:06 PM on November 28, 2001


Isn't this just telling "'em" where to place new cameras?

Has anybody played Deus Ex lately? Talk about hitting the nail on the head. It is haunting how well this game jibes with the near future--which was the near future when the game was conceived. Playing it again after Sept 11th, I'm now reading all the books you can find laying around game character's desks and bookshelves that I didn't read the first time through. Quite the visionary game.
posted by crasspastor at 10:58 PM on November 28, 2001


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