Posted by: thescoundrel | July 11, 2007

Crime – Terror: Where do we go from here?

My love/hate relationship with technology continues to expand in both directions. Most recently I posted up links that lead to a part of technology that I love, wild life video technology that allows the world to visit wildlife Sanctuaries and Zoos from their very homes. On the opposite end of the same technology spectrum has been my objections to speed cameras that are posted in public that allows unknown individuals to invade my car. Though it is not the invasion of my car ability that I object to but more how the materials captured by the cameras can be stolen and/or misused. It is relatively simple with todays digital photo technology to take an image and fabricate it into something other than what it is. And as I sit here contemplating those issues, I also consider that modern criminal and terrorist events are assuredly pushing us towards an Orwellian acceptance of need for the Big Brother Monitoring Technology hi-tech video safety net offered the public. And as I analyze the pros and cons I realize that the over abundance of cameras in the United Kingdoms (an estimation of around four million cameras government and business combined, or about one camera for every fourteen civilians in the country) has not stopped criminal or terrorist acts. I also realize that if any individual is willing to forfeit their own life to kill one or more citizens that no camera in the world can stop them. But I also realize that the cameras have helped the law more quickly round up the perpetrators that have or have attempted to cause acts of violence and devastation. Most recently New York City has announced plans to bring three thousand public and private sector security cameras to bear on the city to help fight crime and terror. These will add to an estimated seven thousand already in use in the city. When you look at the advantages versus the losses, I am not sure of whether I should be excited about the crime and terror fighting ability or appalled at the possible misuse of the technology for personal gains. No matter my beliefs one way or the other, the cameras will come and work their way into the fabric of society. Plus as they are distributed it creates other questions and answers to be ascertained. First as in a recent Iowa case will be the constitutionality of their methods and use. Also, who has the legality to the information these cameras will be recording? (My understanding is that the information will only be kept about thirty days.) Is this information doomed to be stored for longer lengths of time if it is legally determined that lawyers should have access to the archives for criminal and divorce cases? How are they going to mark and protect the information from being misused before it does fall into some criminals or hacker’s fingers? History has shown the information will fall into other hands. Does this open the cities to lawsuits when that information is stolen and misused? Does this open up the cities to lawsuits when a crime is committed and there is a lack of “proper” response? I am sure there are many more usage questions that will continue to come up as the cameras invade our streets. Perhaps the saddest part is I find myself with less and less objections when I consider the events (murder-kidnapping-property theft and destruction) created by criminals and would be terrorists and their sympathizers. The real question is; where do we go from here?



  1. It’s a tough call. I agree with you that on one hand, privacy is important as is the protection of those things that are recorded… On the other hand, the number of crimes that are solved quickly thanks to security footage or pictures is promising. I guess what it comes down to is asking what our protection is worth to us? Personally, I don’t really do much wrong so my life caught on tape doesn’t really bother me. If it were to be edited and used against me, I would hope that people would realize that the data was stolen and manipulated before passing too harsh of judgment on me…

    I guess when it comes down to it, we need to look at facts and figures. Surveillance doesn’t stop crime, but does it cut it down at all? Does the knowledge that their face more than likely will be seen on video somewhere deter people any more than if there was no surveillance? As you said, terrorists don’t care. They’re just going out there to kill or maim and more often than not, their own lives are meaningless next to the jihad. To them, cameras are not a deterrence. But what about a common criminal or prowler? These are all things that must be weighed against the possible negatives.

  2. I try an keep my nose out of the trouble also. But I have had my phone tapped at least once and probably more. That does no bother me. Just because I keep myself on the legal side of life, it does not mean that people I know keep themselves clean. I have had more than one relative or friend end up behind bars. I knew why it was tapped and I had expected it to happen. But cameras are not a deterrent to many criminals and none at all to terrorists. But it is not the privacy angle that worries me – but the abuse of the technology that is capable by those who can tap into the systems for personal gain. But I agree, that the ability to determine identity and punish criminals/terrorists by camera technology forces the question; just how much camera invasion are we willing to put up with?

  3. Technology is here whether we want it or not. All I ask is that spy-cams do not invade my domain and show me picking my nose—or worse!

    If they want to tap my phone—-fine! I would like others to share in the boredom of the many phone calls from my sister complaining about the atrocities of her boyfriend of the day, or calls from my son that go into more detail than is legally allowed about the latest car/truck he wants to buy.

    Share the wealth, I always say.

  4. I have written about technology advances several times. One of the new popular car additions has sent me to shopping only the very old car markets. I refuse to own a car that has a satellite or global positioning device in the car. Besides I am a man, I don’t need no stinking instructions. I like getting lost, it can take you to places you would never go otherwise. (You can trust me on that one. Think Chevy Chase and his movie Vacation. Been there done that, more than once.) It is not that I care about any government agency spying on me, heck they have other equipment that can do that anyway. It goes back to my concerns about street cameras. I dislike the systems because the Information highway has proven time and time again, if a criminal or crook wants to tap into the system they can break into it and rarely get caught.

  5. […] an elite tactical team with the extra revenue. Welcome to the World of Modern Camera Technology. I have ranted against speed cameras and their possible abuse before. I can actually see their advantages but I can also see their abuse potential. And I am not against […]

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