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Here’s Lookin’ At You…

July 30, 2007

Apparently, 7 in 10 Americans support increasing the use of surveillance cameras.

Me? I’m not so sure.

On the one hand, I have a pretty mean libertarian streak, and tend to view any further government encroachment into our lives with a mixture of suspicion and exasperation.  And surveillance cameras, in particular. I mean, is it even possible to find a more cliched Big Brother cliche than surveillance cameras?

On the other hand, public space is public space, and so long as the government doesn’t violate your rights to peaceably assemble, to speak freely, believe what you want, etc, I don’t know that it states anywhere in the Constitution that they are not allowed to observe you as you go about your day-to-day activities.  That…and it strikes me that surveillance cameras would probably be a lot more useful in combating terrorism than would forcing people to remove their shoes at airport security checkpoints.

The risk, though, is that such a system could easily be abused.  Today it is for the terrorists, or murderers, rapists, or kidnappers.  Tomorrow? Someone not picking up after their dog? Someone smoking too close to a building entrance? How long until someone begins using it to watch “political threats”?  That’s the issue that I see.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 1, 2007 4:53 am

    i have the same concerns as you do about the issue. i support it for the crime solving or stopping ability it has, i.e. london. however, are we as citizens vigilant enough to make sure the government does not pass laws allowing it to go beyond that. unfortunately i don’t think so and that is really the scary.

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