I hope that I am not alone in my supreme discomfort at the casual discussions our City Council is having regarding placing a larger surveillance network of cameras in downtown.
Is this a surveillance network that we will hand operation over to the police, whose department is mired in malfeasance and investigation? Draconian broad surveillance patterns have been a steady feature of policing and government security for some time, definitely since 9/11. Invasions of privacy and civil liberties have become commonplace as our information is exchanged between the security apparatus and private corporations. Past history should reveal, to everyone save our Council, I suppose, that such police and surveillance powers can and will be extended to criminalize speech, deter protest, hassle the homeless, shared with private interests and used to leer at us in the nude when we travel.
Of course some crimes may be ferreted out due to totalitarian security systems, but the question is, do we want to live in a world like that? Increasingly, that is exactly the cloying, prying, spying type of country we’ve become. It used to be the Reds that justified the blanket snooping, then terrorists; now apparently it’s graffiti. Next I’m sure it’ll be our own shadows.
We are to accept a blanket of watchful eyes over our city center in order to protect us from kids with paint markers? This justification cannot possibly fly in the age of categorically out of control “security” and “justice” systems. What a terrified pathetic body politic we’ve become that this notion is even entertained.
— Martin Ramsey