I am a camera with its shutter open,
quite passive, recording, not thinking
--I am a Camera, Christopher Isherwood
I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
--Eye in the Sky, Alan Parsons Project
Nobody naw give ya no Break,
0Police naw give you no break,
Soldier man naw give you no break,
Not even you idren naw give you no break
--Bad Boys, Bob Marley
It is a crime to exploit patriotism
in the service of hatred, and it is, finally,
a crime to ensconce the sword as the modern god,
whereas all science is toiling to achieve
the coming era of truth and justice
--J'Accuse!, Emile Zola
We in the U.S. have the right to face our accusers. (That is, if you head isn't in a sandbag and you are not in the Charleston Naval Yard Brig.) That right is the bedrock of our judicial system. But that right has been compromised with today's secret court scenarios, and we all seem to acquiesce since it is them and not us getting bested by the legal system.
But let us shift this denial of rights closer to home, to something each of us may have to confront one day. We now have cameras on our stop lights, and Ranger wonders how a camera may be challenged in court. Is a camera a person? How far away are from from the conferral of such rights upon our scanning technology? Will the human operator merge with his scanner into an inviolable voice of right?
Reader choloazul recently noted:
With a camera on every corner, and interlinked databases, I'd be more worried by the fact that there are around 3 private security employees for every sworn officer, and they are increasingly being given tactical equipment, and a heavy dose of 'us vs. them' indoctrination... inside the US of A.
This is a valid concern. Along with the warrantless and widespread wiretapping of the citizenry, this is new potential violation of our civil rights. If the courts confer personhood on a camera, do we automatically presume that the camera is correct -- especially in today's Photoshopped world?
As in The Terminator, humans are accepting the intrusion of electronic surveillance into all areas of our lives. As the economy worsens and crimes perpetrated by the desperate and criminal increase, we are happy for the guards and cameras stationed at the gates to our communities. But that same oversight can be turned on the watched for nefarious purposes.
The cameras at the stop lights are acting as proxies for the newly militarized police. The oddity of the system is that it adds to the municipality's coffers while it also allows for the reduction in the actual police force, adding to the numbers of the unemployed. But who knows -- the slack in sworn officers may be taken up by furtive eyes in some remote system room monitoring behavior.
Another great example of freedom that the troops are ostensibly fighting for in the alleys of sandbox nations.
Do we think about this stuff while watching Dancing With the Stars?
Labels: civil liberties, police, stop light cameras, surveillance