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A Balancing Force to Mass Surveilance?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the a-counter-to-big-brother dept.

Communications 150

moerty asks: "The advent and application of video surveillance by governments on its peoples has been a worrying trend in western society. The recent incident with the use of tasers on a UCLA student has highlighted a shift of power where surveillance in the hands of civilians can be used as an equalizing tool against government oppression. What are the best optic/sound capture devices for such a situation? A plus is having a device that is inconspicuous, since photographers are usually targeted due to the visibility of their cameras. What about off-site storage and the hosting of such videos? As a follow-up, what organizations exist that encourage the use of the camera as an equalizing tool?"

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I support cameras. (5, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148998)

I've been a big supporter of cameras not to just protect my rights, but to prove my innocence and to protect me. Based on talking with slashdot user jdavidb [slashdot.org] , I've given up my guns and have fully accepted the pacifist way (I feel that it is the most Christian attitude). While I would not attempt to defend myself anymore, not even from the State, I do believe it is OK to document what happened if something bad happened. Plus, the two cameras I do have on my property have secondary uses that are even more of a benefit: I can see who is at the door without getting up, and I can see if my driveway needs to be shoveled before I get home (a quick call to a neighbor's kid). This works great.

I have videotaped local law enforcement a few times in the past year as I've been working on a "free" viral documentary I've been hoping to put on YouTube to gain some support for both citizen surveillance of the State, as well as the ridiculousness of the State most of the time. I'd videotape police officers sitting around "radaring" possible speeders in hopes of catching them doing that when a crime may have occurred at the same time -- a real crime with a real victim. Lucky for me, 3 out of 4 times that I caught a cop doing nothing but attempting to produce income for the State there had been a violent crime within 15 minutes of the wasted taxpayer labor. You can't beat that. But the fourth time I was actually questioned for a full 20 minutes by the officer (or a radio'd in backup) as to what exactly I was doing.

I explained that the officer was on private property (usually a parking lot), as was I. Just as the officer didn't ask for prior approval, neither had I, but I would happily leave if the owner of the property told me to (or posted signs to the effect of telling me I can't be there). Since neither occurred, I felt I had ever reason to watch the police who watch us. The officer said I could be arrested for trespass and for violating the officer's privacy. I explained to the near-arresting officer that no one has privacy of transport in public as long as they're on public property or on someone else's private property. I do believe you have the "right" to privacy within your home (close the shades), but the minute you leave your property, you're on someone's land, and that person has the right to dictate what can be done on their property. That didn't jive with the officer, but he let me go (as if he ever really had me in custody). Unbelievable.

I feel we should be watching ourselves more closely. I had a rear-camera on my old truck to back it up easier, and I'd happily use it to record if I felt I needed to. I've even come out supporting the idea of the State IF and ONLY IF everyone who works for the State had to be under constant surveillance -- constant. Public IP cameras in the mayor's office and car. Public IP cameras in the DMV. Public IP cameras following the President. Let amateurs watch them, if they wish, and tag them and bookmark them and watch those watching us. If the public official has a lot of power, they should be watched even on their private time -- no bribery, no scandals, no cheating, no lying. Get them in their kitchen, get them in their meetings. The public should have privacy, but the public official should have none. Zero. They're our employees, right? They have the power to tax/steal from us, right? They have the power to imprison/enslave us, right? We should know what they're doing -- all the time.

Re:I support cameras. (3, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149170)

You don't have to give up your guns to be a pacifist. You can reject the initiation of force while reserving the right to defense.

Re:I support cameras. (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149376)

You don't have to give up your guns to be a pacifist. You can reject the initiation of force while reserving the right to defense.

Actually, I agreed with you on this until jdavidb reminded me that as an anarcho-capitalist that is also a Christian, violence towards another is absolutely not the answer. Jesus was very specific about living by the sword, turning the other cheek to our enemies, and loving all even those who don't love us. Self-defense really has no weight for me anymore.

Re:I support cameras. (2, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149460)

I guess that would be the most consistant view for an anarcho-capitalist Christian. Could get a little dicey though. Would you report someone who committed a crime against you, knowing that it would result in their imprisonment?

Re:I support cameras. (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149848)

Would you report someone who committed a crime against you, knowing that it would result in their imprisonment?

No, definitely not. I am insured against as many crimes as possible, so why would it matter if the "evil doer" was caught or not?

Re:I support cameras. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17150094)

Because your insurer will want to recoup their costs in insuring you.

If you take no steps to help them do so, they will raise your rates. No different from many car insurance companies that raise your rates when someone else hits you, even if your car was unoccupied and legally parked in a marked parking spot.

Re:I support cameras. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17150594)

that's retarded. You're a criminal's dream victim.

Re:I support cameras. (2, Insightful)

Alphager (957739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150622)

Would you report someone who committed a crime against you, knowing that it would result in their imprisonment?

No, definitely not. I am insured against as many crimes as possible, so why would it matter if the "evil doer" was caught or not?
So that the evildoer can be prevented to make another victim?

Re:I support cameras. (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149468)

Then to each their own.

I for one have been stomped on so hard by not aggressively protecting myself (not with guns per se.) that I refuse to be an absolute pacifist. I understand your philosophy and I genuinely wish you the best of luck.
-nB

Re:I support cameras. (2)

Wog (58146) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149504)

Why then, did Christ have his disciples buy weapons for themselves?

"If he has no sword, he should sell his cloak and buy one."

As a Christian who carries a gun every day, I understand that being a peaceful person does not mean giving up my own right to life.

Prophecy misread. (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149936)

"If he has no sword, he should sell his cloak and buy one."

That is one that a lot of Christians are confused on, IMHO. Christ was telling them these things in order to fulfill prophecy -- the prophecy that he would reside among criminals. Also remember that he told his followers to steal a purse, too. Do you use scripture to promote theft? Read it for what it is -- fulfillent of prophecy, not the right to harm another.

It doesn't surprise me that the Christian Right is so wrong -- they seem to have read the Bible wrong based on the history of others reading the Bible wrong (Scofield, Moody, Dobson, etc).

Re:Prophecy misread. (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150362)

Hi!

Could you give me pointers to that sword and purse? I wish to read it for myself. Thanks.

Re:Prophecy misread. (1)

thehickcoder (620326) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150798)

I had to look it up myself as well: Luke 22:36.

Re:Prophecy misread. (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151608)

Thanks.

Re:I support cameras. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17149636)

Not that I fault your ideology one bit, because everyone is entitled to their beliefs... but determinism can only go so far. If this had been the prevailing belief in the inception of Christianity there wouldn't be much left today.

David calling men to arm:
1 Samuel 25:13
"And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff."

The folly of pacifism:
Judges 5:8
"They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?"

Justified homicide:
Exodus 22:2-3. "If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, he is guilty of bloodshed. A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft."

And with all religious arguments the cliche: if you believe the other bits, then you must believe the whole. Regardless, the bible gives instances where self defense is covered, spiritually anyways.

There are lots of discussions about this, and I don't think it will ever die as a discussion. Especially with a current world religion that practices the opposite openly: murder/martyrdom as a tool.

Against a pacified enemy pacifism will win, against one who's morays are not in line with the west, well I'll take a .45

Re:I support cameras. (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149902)

You make the same mistake most Christians make -- the Old Testament was during the "Old Age" which Christ's tribulation resolved by ending those laws and rules. The whole point of the birth, Resurrection, and Return was to fulfill the Old Age. Christ did that, so all those verses (1 Samuel 25:13, Judges 5:8, Exodus 22:2-3) are useless EXCEPT to explain why the world needed Christ to do what He did.

The New Age/Convenant revolves around a few new thoughts: peace to all, love to all, sharing when asked for, stop judging, stop hating, stop commanding, start serving.

Vicious Morays (2, Funny)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149988)

>against one who's morays are not in line with the west, well I'll take a .45

Yeah, those damn eels are nasty bastards, what with those teeth and big jaw muscles. I usually don't carry my .45 underwater even though it's stainless. Your dive knife is good enough for most problems, but a bang stick can be handy. Just keep your hands out of the holes, and you'll be OK.

Or, were you talking about "mores"?

So you know the difference (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150818)

When you swim ina da sea
And an Eel bites your knee,
That's a morey.

When our habits are strange
And our customs deranged
That's our mores.

A New Zealander man
with a permanent tan,
That's a Maori.

Thanks Spider, I'd never have known the difference without ya!

Re:I support cameras. (4, Insightful)

GypC (7592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149670)

If only all good people were like you, then us bad guys could take over the world...

*sigh*

Someday... someday...

MOD PARENT UP! (2, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150462)

That's the best reply to the old "why can't we all just be pacifists!" argument I've seen.

It drives me crazy the people that advocate a single solution (their own personal form of extremism) to the problems of the world. "Passive resistance worked for Ghandi, it must always work!." Or "War worked for the American Revolution, it must always work!". Or "Capitalism works to lower the price of tube socks to $2 a dozen, it must always work!".

Re:I support cameras. (1)

SpiritusGladius1517 (929800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149904)

Jesus was very specific about living by the sword, turning the other cheek to our enemies, and loving all even those who don't love us.

Would this be the very same Jesus who upon seeing the corruption of his Father's temple, left, made himself a whip, and beat the money-changers out [biblegateway.com] with it? Much of what you refer to has to do with advancing the Gospel with the sword (this is why Christians have/should have condemned those atrocities of the Inquisition). It's fine if you want to live a life of pacifism, but it's not necessary to reinvent Jesus as a pacifist to justify your decision.

Chasing out the money changers (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150074)

It would seem to me that he used the whip against sheep and cattle, not against the money changers (although the translation to English is a bit difficult). Look at the verb tense and the translation of "all" and you can see the difficulty in the translation. I'd say, though, based on Christ's other words and actions, it would seem that the translation WOULD say the whips were used to move the animals out.

As for why He told people to leave the temple, there IS a debate as to whether or not He was doing it to fulfill prophecy: he had to be arrested by the Romans, correct? The only way to do this was to do something that would get them to come and get him, in this case it may have been the temple act.

Nonetheless, the actions of Jesus revolve around two processes: what did He do as God, and what did He do as an example? He said blessed are the peacemakers (not the peacekeepers). He said the meek would inherit the Kingdom (not salvation, just the Kingdom, which came after his final return). His words to others said pacifism is the key to the Kingdom -- and therefore that is what we go on.

Re:I support cameras. (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150108)

The scripture is unclear. There was livestock in the temple, and the easiest way to get them out is with a whip.

It doesn't say that he whipped the moneychangers.

Re:I support cameras. (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150126)

Luke 22:36: "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."

Not a Christian myself, but I think that he may be OK for leaving the sword and getting a FAL, G3, or similar...

Re:I support cameras. (3, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150522)

Jesus was very specific about living by the sword, turning the other cheek to our enemies, and loving all even those who don't love us.

Matthew 10:34: (Jesus instructs his followers) Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 26:51-54 (Judas betrays Jesus to the high preists) Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?"

It is certainly plausible based on the second passage quoted that Jesus had no problem with his followers carrying swords, but didn't want them using them in that particular circumstance. The first quote above is general doctrine the second is regarding the specific circumstances of his arrest. Then again, one can plausibly interpret the first quote allegorically, but then you're on that slippery slope that leads all to quickly to "we had to destroy the village in order to save it" territory. After all, any Inquisitor would tell you with a straight face and pure heart that torturing heretics until they repented was an act of love, because the heretic's immortal soul was being saved from eternal damnation.

So it would be wrong to think that Jesus was very clear on the matter of swords and violence. There is very, very little in the Bible that is clear and unambiguous, and believing there is clarity in the Bible is a sure sign one is at risk of becoming a danger to oneself and others.

WTF (2, Insightful)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151326)

This entire fucking thread is offtopic.

Mod this whole meta-judeochristian-philisophical-wtfbbqry down. Including this post.

BOMBS AWAY. Make sure to use all five of your points. Thanks.

Re:I support cameras. (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150726)

Yep, JC was specific about that until he laid the smackdown on the moneychangers.

Re:I support cameras. (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149832)

You can reject the initiation of force while reserving the right to defense.

Sure, except you cannot defend yourself with a gun --- they're purely offensive weapons. You can defend yourself with a sword against another sword, or a knife (if you're good) against another knife, but with a gun your only options are (a) to try to shoot someone (and therefore risk killing them) and (b) to not try to shoot them.

You can use a gun as a deterrent, but that's a drastically different thing, and frequently not a very useful one.

Re:I support cameras. (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150310)

defend v.tr.
      1. To make or keep safe from danger, attack, or harm.

Shooting someone who is trying to hurt you certainly qualifies.

Self Defense (3, Insightful)

Phil_At_NHS (1008933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150738)

"you cannot defend yourself with a gun --- they're purely offensive weapons. You can defend yourself with a sword against another sword, or a knife (if you're good) against another knife, but with a gun your only options are (a) to try to shoot someone (and therefore risk killing them) and (b) to not try to shoot them."

This is a strange way of thinking. I think you have an incomplete understanding of "defense."

You say you can defend yourself with a sword against another sword. Typical of the gun banner mentality, this treats the weapon as a being, and ignores the problem. Yes, when I swing my sword at you, you can swing your blade in such a way as to prevent mine from cleaving you crown to crotch. However, you have not defended yourself against me: I am still here, I still want to kill you, and I am still capable of killing you. I swing again, you block again, rinse lather repeat. At some point, you are going to have to do me bodily harm, disable me to the point where I can no longer swing my sword at you, or you will end up dead, having failed to do more the prolong your life by a few moments. Anything less is not really an option. "Self Defense" is an end, not a means. The end result is to prevent harm that would otherwise be done to you. Ask any police officer who has shot someone who pulled a gun on them, if they thought it was "self defense". If they had not fired, they would have been shot by the bad guy. Since they did fire, they were not. Harm was prevented, "self" was "defended" from bodily harm.

As far as Deterrence:

"You can use a gun as a deterrent, but that's a drastically different thing, and frequently not a very useful one." IF a man comes at a women with a knife intending to rape her, and she pulls a gun and he runs, one, this is indeed self defense. She prevented harm with her gun, even though she did not have to pull the trigger. "Deterrence" is based on an unknown. A sign in a liquor store that says, I carry a .44 magnum three days a week, you guess which three, is "deterrence." The THREAT of the gun, not the actuality, is deterrence.

You say that it is frequently not very useful. According to the FBI, (who should know,) of all the things you can do when faced with a criminal, the MOST EFFECTIVE way to prevent harm to self, is to resist with a gun. You are more likely to get hurt if you resist with a knife sword, or club. You are more likely to get hurt if you run. You are more likely to get hurt if you cooperate. You are least likely to get hurt if you pull a gun. That is a simple undeniable fact.

Re:Self Defense (2, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151126)


You say that it is frequently not very useful. According to the FBI, (who should know,) of all the things you can do when faced with a criminal, the MOST EFFECTIVE way to prevent harm to self, is to resist with a gun. You are more likely to get hurt if you resist with a knife sword, or club. You are more likely to get hurt if you run. You are more likely to get hurt if you cooperate. You are least likely to get hurt if you pull a gun. That is a simple undeniable fact.

You're more likely to get shot.

Maybe, if you have your gun out first, or you get into a mexican standoff? maybe.

But if I come up on you with my gun in my hand, and you start drawing your sidearm, you're getting a bullet right between the eyes. After all, it's self-defense. If I have a sword in my hand and you start drawing your sword, then we have to actually fight if we want to inflict harm. But if we're at guns, as soon as you draw a firearm you are considered a clear and present danger, and dealt with appropriately- ie, inflicting terminal force.

Really, that's all guns do- they accelerate the use of terminal force, because there's no skill to using firearms. Any idiot can shoot somebody, and a lot of idiots do shoot people. Hence, anybody with a gun pointed in your direction is a threat to your life. On the other hand, an idiot with say, a knife; that's a very different circumstance. It takes a good amount of skill to be able to wield a knife effectively. Even if somebody has a knife drawn and is holding it on you at close to point blank range, there's absolutely no guarantee he'll be able to kill you or significantly wound you.

Guns... have lead to the acceptance of the use of immense force. And in many ways, that's a sad thing. So. If you don't want to get killed, don't draw a gun.

Re:I support cameras. (1)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150814)

I would say its a very effective deterrent. If I am a police officer or other law enforcement agent and I am subduing a suspect, I would use my gun as a deterrent. This is why after a car chase the agent stetps out of his vehicle with his gun drawn and ready to fire. Ordering a suspect from a vehicle with gun drawn is far more effective and safe then doing so then without the gun.

Re:I support cameras. (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151284)

Not really. It's only safer if you expect the suspect will shoot at you to prevent themselves being taken into custody. There are plenty of places where police officers don't need to draw their guns to approach suspects in vehicles, simply because they don't think they're going to get shot for doing so.

It's a self-perpetuating cycle. As the police become more willing to use force, their opponents will be more willing to use force, thus allowing the police to justify using even more force, and so on and so forth.

Re:I support cameras. (1)

vandon (233276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151040)

Sure, except you cannot defend yourself with a gun
defend /dfnd/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[di-fend]
-verb (used with object)
1. to ward off attack from; guard against assault or injury (usually fol. by from or against): The sentry defended the gate against sudden attack.

So, the phrase "I defended myself from the knife wielding maniac, who was hell-bent on stabbing me, by shooting him with my gun." is a completely correct usage of the word defend.

Re:I support cameras. (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150048)

What kind of setup did you have on your truck? I've been thinking about doing this for awhile, and you could help me jump-start my research :)

Re:I support cameras. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17150294)

Posted anonymously because its OT.

I actually designed and built an all-DC PC for the truck (MP3s, DVDs, GPRS-based Internet and back-up webcam). It was a very basic unit (P3-400 IIRC), but it worked great. I had it shutdown safely when the car was turned off, and had it bootup VERY quickly (maybe 15 seconds?) when the car was turned on. I really liked it, but I never spent time making it better.

I've seen backup cameras at Wal-Mart for under $100, I assume eBay has them for under $20 :)

Re:I support cameras. (1)

el_gordo101 (643167) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150982)

I saw a unit on a friend's DeLorean that could flip the video image horizontally to mimic a rear-view mirror. Trying to back your vehicle while looking at a screen showing everything behind you the "right way around" was very confusing.

Re:I support cameras. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17150072)

I'm totally with you on this one.

"Big Brother" only becomes a problem when it can be exploited for personal gain. If we remove the ability, or incentive, to exploit it, it becomes a very useful tool. A common fear of surveillance is that individuals who have access to the surveillance will use it to blackmail those surveilled, maybe catching them in an affair, etc. When EVERYONE has access to the surveillance, this is no longer an issue.

Furthermore, I'm in firm agreement that government should be the subject of the greatest surveillance, because it presents the greatest opportunities for abuse. If we want an efficient government, history has shown that we need to implement a system that removes any abilities to personally profit from it.

Take Dick Cheney's "energy task force" for example. Now, Cheney has fought tooth and nail to try to prevent the public learning about who was involved in this. The "energy task force" was composed at least partly of energy company executives, and the general understanding is that they were allowed to craft the countries energy policy. If administration officials were unable to hide any of this from the public, they would either be out on their ass by now, or they never would have done it in the first place.

Re:I support cameras. (1)

JackHoffman (1033824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150404)

to prove my innocence

Are we that far off track already?

Re:I support cameras. (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150684)

I'd videotape police officers sitting around "radaring" possible speeders in hopes of catching them doing that when a crime may have occurred at the same time -- a real crime with a real victim. Lucky for me, 3 out of 4 times that I caught a cop doing nothing but attempting to produce income for the State there had been a violent crime within 15 minutes of the wasted taxpayer labor.

Are you implying that if the officers were not trying to catch speeders they would have been able to prevent a "real" crime? How are the police to know when and where a crime is going to occur so they can be there to stop it?

Re:I support cameras. (1)

Procyon101 (61366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152784)

Patrolling in order to show a police presence and unpredictibility in their location would be much more effective than sitting in a single, predictable location targetting traffic infractions. There are few rapes and burglaries happening on the interstate, yet that seems to be where the cops like to congregate. I'd much rather have them driving down my neighborhood street.

Not necessarily (2, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149008)

Nothing for you to see here, please move along.

Government oppression is alive and well, apparently.

In all seriousness, miniaturization of surveillance technology is a sword that cuts both ways. Sure, we can have cell-phone cameras that can record police brutality. However, the government gets access to the same technology, allowing them to monitor us more easily as well.

best device (2, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149044)

http://avidwireless.com/SuccessCamera.htm [avidwireless.com]

even if you miss it, you can keep the last 30 seconds....

Tiananmen Square 1989 anyone? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149052)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_prot ests_of_1989 [wikipedia.org]

If I recall, CNN used satellite phones with video to report the massacre.

It was kind of fun watching the images come in at a rate of a few images per minute. It was like watching a NASA planetary probe video-feed.

My how times have changed.

Damn, now I've done it, China will block /. for sure.

Re:Tiananmen Square 1989 anyone? (2, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149518)

Actually they shot on video tape (betacamSP IIRC), but they could not move the tapes anywhere, so they jerry-rigged a sort of "video Fax" and sent the film that way.
-nB

Re:Tiananmen Square 1989 anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17150036)

"Kinda fun" watching the massacre? If that's the case I bet Darfur's a real blast for you.

You can't offset systematic surveillance with luck (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149076)

There is some virtue in the idea of a totally "transparent" society. The problem with most disclosures of private information is that they put you at a disadvantage; either they are out of context, or they fall disproportionately on you but not others around you.

However, nobody who argues that we should chuck privacy argues that we should chuck it for everyone. They're really more interested in turning privacy from a right into a commodity, that some people can buy and others have to go without.

Sure, sometimes you can catch a bad cop in the act. Good. But you can't catch the people you really need to watch; the people who control the surveillance network.

Re:You can't offset systematic surveillance with l (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149450)

But you can't catch the people you really need to watch; the people who control the surveillance network.

No, but you can make them liable for it. For instance, when a cop covers up their dashboard cam (or just turns it off in places where they're allowed to) and something happens, or when all of the footage in the subway station where the cops just shot some Brazilian guy mysteriously disappears, the people who were responsible for that should immediately and irrevocably lose their jobs. Sure, you might get a few bad apples, but once they fuck with the system once, they should be discarded. Add personal lawsuits to make sure that borderline cases don't get any ideas.

Police unions will never buy it though. Especially if you're permitted to sue the cop directly, and not just suck taxpayer money up by suing the office.

Ad-Hoc has some value (5, Interesting)

darkonc (47285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150496)

If the authorities don't know when/where images are being taken they'll be a bit more careful. If nothing else, you have some hope of correction if you're doing your own documentation.

I can give an example from personal experience:

Back in 1994, I was asked to go along with some logging protesters to video the protest. I called this 'safety video' because the intention was to visibly document the protest to discourage loggers from engaging in vigilante violence. We never considered the possibility of violence on the part of the police.

There were actually two of us doing video. Two people had chained themselves into cement barrels, and a couple of other people. Apparently there was a 3 year old injunction discouraging people from blocking the logging, so the cops showed up with the rep from the logging company and held us on the bridge while the logging company guy read the injunction to us and handed us copies. The second video guy was actually eager to get off the bridge and left as soon as the police allowed him to. I moved a bit more slowly (dealing with power problems on my camera).

As I got off of the bridge, I heard a disturbance behind me. It turns out that the RCMP had arrested the other camera guy as he was leaving the bridge. I turned around to film him being stuffed into a police car as he protested "but I was trying to leave!". The lead officer (Sgt. Bruce Waite) turned around, saw me filming and challenged me "I thought I told you to to leave!".

"OK", I said. I shrugged, put down my camera (but did not turn it off) and turned to walk further down the road. As I was walking away, he ordered another police officer to arrest me. I turned around and protested that I was (a) off of the bridge and off the road, and (b) walking away, but after he insisted (3 or 4 times) that the other officer arrest me, I was finally arrested.

I was charged with contempt of court (violating an injunction). In his papers to the judge, the Seargent claimed that I had refused to leave the bridge. If I hadn't kept my camera running, I probably would have been convicted (his word against mine). Faced with my video, charges against me were dropped.

After me and the other cameraman were arrested, and out of the way, the Seargent Waite ) turned around and assaulted the two people who were chained into barrels. It turns out that he had a history of being sued for assaulting prisoners (mostly natives).

If it hadn't been for my video to put Sgt. Waite's testimony into question, the whole case would have probably turned out a whole lot different.

I "C" You. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17149178)

""The advent and application of video surveillance by governments on its peoples has been a worrying trend in western society. "

You're a little late with that complaint. How long has Great Britian had cameras? Anyway the answer to your question is camera cellphones.

Re:I "C" You. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17149262)

A good solution to being spied upon is to become morbidly obese and gain an interest in wearing lycra and spandex, or nothing, when you are walking about town.

Of course, you need lots and lots and lots of other people doing the same to have any effect.

Just a minor point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17149202)

Don't use an incident where a moron defied authority (which was NOT being abused or applied unfairly), failed to follow justified, reasonable, simple requests from law enforcement, and suffered the consequences for his actions as an example of "government oppression." It's naive, and it detracts from what might otherwise be a vaguely interesting topic.

If you believe enforcing policy is oppression, you should be researching the role of government in public safety, not asking asinine, presumptuous questions on Slashdot.

Re:Just a minor point... (1)

acidrain69 (632468) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149454)

Justified simple requests.... while he was tazed multiple times. It was police brutality. Those cops should be in jail, along with the student.

They were fine to eject him from the building. A tazer is an incapacitation device, it is not a cattle prod for students. They should have carried him out of there after the first taze and called it a day.

Re:Just a minor point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17150514)

He didn't suffer the consequences of his actions, he just suffered.

The police's role in public safety in this situation is to either remove the person from the place where he is trespassing, or apprehend him as a criminal suspect. Tazering a non-violent suspect is punishment, and punishment falls under the jurisdiction of the courts, not the police. The police are only allowed to use force when it is necessary to protect the lives of themselves or others.

Even if you think this guy deserved to get tazered, he should have been punished after being found guilty in a court of law, with the punishment determined by the presiding judge. (And if a judge had sentenced this man to a tazering, I have a feeling most people would be horrified, including most of you who say the police were justified. When it's that obviously institutionalized, electric torture becomes pretty clearly outside the realm of justified state punishment.) The police were obviously way out of line on this one.

A possible read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17149216)

You might be interested in http://wearcam.org/anonequity.htm [wearcam.org]
which isn't technically specific like you are interested in, but it explores the ideas you bring up.

As for the UCLA student, that bastard had it coming.

Carry a taser (1)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149218)

I hadn't heard of this incident but maybe students should start carrying their own tasers. Imagine if another student had tasered the rent-a-cop to get them to stop tasering the student over and over.

Sounds like a nice way to get shot. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149374)


Imagine if another student had tasered the rent-a-cop to get them to stop tasering the student over and over.

I think the video camera was a far more effective weapon. Tasering the cop would have only resulting in the other cops either all tasering the guy dumb enough to taser cop #1, or more likely the other cops shooting and killing the student with the taser. The cops would then just claim the whole thing was in self defense, and without video of the incident they'd probbably get away with it. (Courts and officials tend to give cops the benefit of the doubt since they see them as an extension of their power).

Re:Sounds like a nice way to get shot. (1)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149514)

Or use mace then. My point is everyone stood around picking their noses instead of helping the student. They'd taser him and then tell him to stand up? Ever been tasered? You can't stand up for a while. So they tasered him again. They act like cops haven't ever had to drag a limp person out of a place before.

Re:Sounds like a nice way to get shot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17149816)

Have you ever been caught in bad situations with law enforcement? i have, a few times. if someone fought back even as much as throwing a paper airplane it's called beating time with them phoning for backup. I've seen people punched and kicked by police, than arrested for complaining that they were beating a man who was already handcuffed (i was 5 feet away from this). i personally think the guy videotaping was extremely lucky he wasn't tasered himself and had his camera taken away as "evidence".

Re:Sounds like a nice way to get shot. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149968)


Or use mace then. My point is everyone stood around picking their noses instead of helping the student.

I saw the video too, and that's not exactly true. There were several students asking for badge numbers, obviously one guy taping the whole thing (which later got submitted to youtube).

You seem to think the only problem is the immediate one of a student being tasered. That's obviously horrible, but I see the main problem as the police tasering people un-necessarily. There's probbably not a lot anyone could do to solve your problem without creating an even bigger problem. Escalating the situation would more than likely only resulted in more people being hurt.

It's easy to watch the video and think "Those fucking twisted cops! I'd have beat the shit out of them if I were there!" and maybe that's the right approach in a country where there's no rule of law or a fair justice system. But we do have the rule of law in this country, and while the justice system isn't always fair, armed with video of the incident it's pretty undeniable what went down. It works slowly, and all the officals try to cover their own asses by citing policy. But in the end I think the video will make change occur and stop the police from using tasers as a compliance device for non-violent "offenders".

Re:Sounds like a nice way to get shot. (1)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150918)

It works slowly, and all the officals try to cover their own asses by citing policy. But in the end I think the video will make change occur and stop the police from using tasers as a compliance device for non-violent "offenders".

Yeah, I guess you are right. Hopefully those cops and their families will be plunged into financial ruin defending themselves in court and the kid who got tasered will be able to retire wealthy before he graduates.

Re:Sounds like a nice way to get shot. (1)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150876)

I higly doubt it would result in a police officer drawing there weapon and killing. This would be an unauthorized use of lethal force. Being tasered is not lethal. It is possible to subdue someone who is tasering you. Shooting and killing them is overkill and would not hold up in court. Remember lethal response is only allowed against lethal force/weapons.

Re:Carry a taser (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150380)

Imagine if another student had tasered the rent-a-cop to get them to stop tasering the student over and over.
The video was posted on slashdot; it involved a few (real) cops tasering someone who wouldn't cooperate while they were arresting him. If a student had tasered an officer, he would have probably been shot.

Re:Carry a taser (1)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150914)

Again this is incorrect. It is highly unlikely that an officer would shoot someone using a taser. They would simply subdue them via standard methods not involving weapons. Lethal force is only authorized where there is a clear and direct danger to life of yourself or others around you. Tasering is non lethal. Also most cops are very bad shots. They would cause much more damage by drawing and firing there weapon. Not to mention the automatic suspension/probation that results from an officer involved shooting.

Re:Carry a taser (2, Insightful)

Chabo (880571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151154)

There's a difference between "not allowed to" and "won't".

Re:Carry a taser (1)

oni (41625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151298)

Imagine if another student had tasered the rent-a-cop to get them to stop tasering the student over and over.

Well, the difference between the two would be:

The cop tasering the student was RIGHT, but the student tasering the cop would be WRONG.

And no, I'm not being sarcastic.

This is such a duh, obvious cut and dry case that anyone who thinking the student DIDNT deserve to get tasered multiple times must be delusional.

The rule is: if you want to be in the computer lab, you have to have ID. That's the rule. If you don't like the rule that's cool, go to the student government and have it changed. You and I don't get to pick and choose what rules we follow. That would be anarchy, and you think that's a good idea you're even more delusional.

The student forgot his ID in his dorm room. OK, no problem. It's really not a big deal. The cops are going to ask you to leave though, and you do have to leave because you are wrong and they are right. You broke the rules. Run back to the dorm to get your shit and you'll be back at your computer in 10 minutes.

Unfortunately, the student in question has an inflated sense of his own worth. He thinks he's special and that he can do whatever he wants. He refused to leave the computer lab. This attitude probably leads him to break other laws too. He'd probably take your ipod or your wallet if he could. Now I know what you're saying - you're saying "no, no he's a good person." But you're wrong. A good person would have said to the cop, "yeah, you're right and I'm wrong. Can I leave my crap here while I run back to the dorm?" A good person wouldn't have been tased, but we're not quite there yet...

Since he refused to obey the lawful and reasonable request of the police officer, the police officer took him by the arm in an attempt to usher him to the door (as one might take a child by the arm, since as we are about to see, this person has the mind of a child).

This is where the video begins, with the cop taking the student by the arm. The student, it turns out, is not only immature (in that he thinks rules do not apply to him), but he's also a whiny little bitch. When the video opens, the student is screaming at the top of his lungs, "GET YOU HANDS OFF ME." Now he's disturbing everybody else who is there trying to work on papers or whatever. God, what a complete douche this guy is.

So the cops taser him. Good for them! He earned that tasering. He worked hard for it. I wouldn't have gotten tasered, because I'm an adult and I treat people like respect. If a cop had asked me for my ID, I would have 1) stood up to talk to the police officer, thus treating him like a person, and not acting like I'm better than he is. I would have offered to give him my SSN so he could look up my status as a student, (and it might work, because when you treat people with respect, they usually respect you back) but if that didn't work I would 2) leave, because I had brokent the rules.

It's not like the cops came sundering into the lab and just started tasering random people. No, they tasered a stuck up, elitist, whiny little bitch. And then after they tasered him, he still didn't grow up, so he got his stupid ass tasered again. But I kind of wish he hadn't gotten tasered the third time. I wish the cops had just grabbed his ankles and dragged him down those stairs, taking car to let his head hit every step along the way - because he deserves that. He deserves to feel pain for wasting MY tax dollars. I pay for that lab and I pay for those cops. I want the lab that I paid for quiet so that all those doctors and scientists or whatever can learn, because they (unlike him) add back to society. And I want the cops out looking for bank robbers, I don't want them wasting their time teaching a child how act.

Re:Carry a taser (1)

hitchhacker (122525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151536)


First off, he wasn't asked to leave by the cops, he was asked to leave by a librarian.

Second. He was on his way out when the cops (LAPD) did show up and they grabbed him.

Third. Do you have any idea how difficult it would be to stand up after repeatedly being tasered? Not 10 minutes later, not 1 minute later, not even 30 seconds later.

Go ahead... be happy with your authoritarian friends. Maybe I'll just look the other way when you're being tortured.

-metric

Re:Carry a taser (1)

Macgyver7017 (629825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152182)

You obviously have not been tased. I realize that you think you can imagine what it might be like to be tased, but you're wrong. I have been tased. So has everyone else in my dept that carries one. When the juice turns off, there is NO lasting effect. It WAS painful, now it isn't. There is no lasting motor disruption.

I would definitely rather be tased than forced into submission with a night stick or a baton. It takes a lot more restraint and precision to prevent serious injury with a baton.

Parent is right on. Grow up and do what the policeman tells you (as long as its reasonable, like leave the library). If you disagree, the worst thing you can possibly do is mouth off and resist. Certainly don't continue after it has earned you one, two, three, or more taser jolts.

Re:Carry a taser (1)

Procyon101 (61366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153202)

Where the parent and you are wrong is in your concept of "earning jolts".

The police officer has ZERO authority to dole out punishment. That is completely in the realm of the courts. The job of the officer is subduction of the criminal. Any officer that doesn't understand this, yourself included, has no business wearing that badge you hide behind.

Civil police officers hold a very sacred place in society. We give you a measure of authority as our civil servants to perform the vigilant duty of preventing crime and apprehending criminals so that we as a society CAN have a court system and not resort to the necessity of vigilante justice and on the spot punishment of criminals. The fact that some of you compensate for your small egos by perverting your position of responsibility is a slap in the face to honorable officers.

Re:Carry a taser (1)

oni (41625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153336)

be happy with your authoritarian friends.

I'm not authoritarian at all. When the police really do abuse their power, I'm just as mad as anyone. Fortunately, this wasn't such a case. Post a slashdot article when someone really gets abused and I'm all about it. A whiny little bitch learning that the earth doesn't revolve around him doesn't make me particularly angry.

Re:Carry a taser (1)

theghost (156240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152036)

Ignoring whether or not they should have been hassling this kid in the first place, the whole problem with your analysis is that you are assuming that it is the cops' job to give the student "what he deserved".

It's not. Their job is to investigate crimes, arrest suspects, and deliver them to trial. The courts take care of deciding guilt or innocence and handing out appropriate punishment. The taser is a less-than-lethal weapon should be used to subdue suspects, not to punish them.

The kid they tasered was not being violent or threatening, he was simply not cooperating and being very vocal about it, which is entirely within his rights. (You are not legally required to help the police arrest you - you just can't fight them when they try to do so.) At any time the cops could have handcuffed him and carried him out, but instead they tasered him repeatedly and after each tasering they demanded that he stand up and walk out. It looks like these cops got pissed off at a mouthy kid and instead of doing their jobs they decided to teach him a lesson.

You can talk about what a good little pussy-boy you would have been, and what a little punk the kid they tasered was, but that doesn't change the fact that the cops abused their power.

And by the way... "He deserves to feel pain for wasting MY tax dollars." So what's the going rate for $ to pain conversions you sick, arrogant, sadistick fuck?

Re:Carry a taser (1)

oni (41625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153400)

you are assuming that it is the cops' job to give the student "what he deserved".

not at all! It's no more the cops job to give someone "what they deserve" than it is a bus driver's job to give a jaywalker "what he deserves."

HOWEVER, if you step in front of a bus, you're going to get what you deserve, and I'm not going to feel sorry for you.

Well, I mean, if you didn't see the bus that'd be one thing, but if you just think you're special and traffic needs to stop for you, then fuck you, fuck you right in the ear. And fuck this student. Like I said, when he was asked to leave, he should have left. He was wrong. I realize it was all an accident. He didn't mean to forget his ID. But that's life.

Re:Carry a taser (1)

theghost (156240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153740)

If the bus driver could stop or swerve to avoid you but didn't then the bus driver should be prosecuted for what he did.

These cops could have stopped or chosen some other course of action. They should be held responsible.

Re:Carry a taser (1)

FreakWent (627155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152486)

Not following stupid ruiles is called civil disobedience, and it is sometimes a good idea. You extrapolate from civil disobedience to ipod/wallet theft, goodness is subjective. If he was REALLY a theiving type then he'd be keeping a low profile, so as not to be noticed by the cops.

In any case, it's not OK to back up procedural rules like this with violence. Everyone in the USA paid for that library with their tax dollars, so why it's only open to students I have no idea. Leaving that aside though, because the rule is what it is, just because you are happy to live as a brown-nosing suckup to a stupid ill-educated gunman doesn't meant that everyone else should. You are proposing a specific mode of social behaviour for everyone, and you seem to think that failure to adhere to this code of behaviour result should result in arbitrary serious assault, with no subsequent penalities of any kind for the officers involved. I note that you don't think it's acceptable to taser him for actually breaking the rule that was given, but that you do think it's ok for him to be zapped for speaking! If you think that you are a good person for condoning this behaviour; you aren't.

If you really "want the cops out looking for bank robbers, [not] wasting their time teaching a child how act", then you shouldn't send them into university libraries to remove students without ID Cards. They probably agree with you and would rather be busting people for more worthwhile crimes too.

The university is a place of study and learning, and apparently that's what he was doing. Who cares if the dude hasn't got the correct papers (comrade!), it's disgusting that in the USA not having your ID results in this sort of situation at any civilian facility. People aren't cattle and tasers are not appropriate replacements for negotiation and persuasion.

Land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy.

Re:Carry a taser (1)

oni (41625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153522)

Not following stupid ruiles is called civil disobedience, and it is sometimes a good idea.

true, but what he did was not for any higher purpose. He wasn't a protestor. He was just another student. The only difference was, he forgot his ID. If he had behaved like an adult and treated others with respect none of that would have happened to him.

In any case, it's not OK to back up procedural rules like this with violence.

ok then, enlighten me, fill in the blank:

cop: excuse me sir, may I see your ID
kid: leave me alone
cop: uh sir, I need to see your ID
kid: I ain't got no ID, fuck off pig
cop: sir, if you don't have an ID I have to ask you to leave
kid: I ain't leavin
cop: ________________

please tell me you have a better answer than the cop saying, "oh, you're not going to leave, ok then I give up."

These things escalate slowly, and at every stage both parties share responsibility for where it goes. Sure, maybe the cop could have gotten down on one knee and begged. Maybe that would have diffused the situation. But most of the responsibility is on the whiny bitch student. He could have avoided getting tased - but he was mad because he got caught without ID. Children get mad and let it control them and throw temper tantrums.

Re:Carry a taser (1)

theghost (156240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154098)

It became a protest as soon as the kid decided to stand up for himself and not submit to what he thought was racial profiling. The fact that the officers overreacted so badly gives credence to the need for such a protest.

You don't seem to comprehend that the officers' choice was not simply:

A) taser
B) walk away

There were many other options that involved resolving the situation with less disruption and less violence. Getting tasered is not the inescapable consequence of not showing your ID when an officer asks to see it. The kid made a choice and should probably have been arrested for it. The officer made a choice and should probably be in jail for it.

TMobile MDA (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149264)

Looks like a PDA, is really a phone and communications device, but contains a 2MP camera that has a pretty good video mode and the sound pickup to go with it. Downside is that it either looks like you're using a camera or the picture gets taken sideways. I'm sure there's a MPEG-4 editor out there that can do the rotation though after the fact.

Re:TMobile MDA (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150232)

As an owner of the Sprint version of this phone, I can't disagree more. The camera is probably the worst piece of crap I've seen in a long time.

The image lag you get is awful, the shutter speed (for stills) means that you pretty much have to set it on a stationary object, or it's going to be blurry. And don't even think about using it without plenty of light.

I haven't mess with video all that much, but it doesn't seem too much better. And you can't get more than 30 seconds out of it without registry hacks (and wave goodbye to your battery life!)

Re:TMobile MDA (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150580)

Sprint must have really disabled that phone then- I've taken 40-50 minutes of video at a whack (with a Kingston 2GB card) and I've had no problem with blurry photos yet. Of course- I do use a third party product to empty memory first before using the camera- I've noticed for instance that you do get a lot of lag if you're playing MP3s in the background....

digitalXtractions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17149346)

Check out http://digitalxtractions.net/ [digitalxtractions.net]

Direct cell-to-youtube uploads? (1)

dircha (893383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149442)

As popular as YouTube is, how long before video cell phones can provide 1-click uploads directly to YouTube? While it would be in the hands of a private corporation (Google), this would provide for what the poster is suggesting in a way that would be popularly accessible and justifiable from a business perspective. More compelling user-made video content means more un-incumbered video to serve ads with.

Of course by off-site hosting the poster presumably means getting the video persisted somewhere off the recording device so that even when the abuser or oppressor confiscates or destroys the device, the testimony is not lost.

It seems win-win.

Re:Direct cell-to-youtube uploads? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149942)

As long as it take for the cell phone providers to stop locking down phones and charging high data rates.

Re:Direct cell-to-youtube uploads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152550)

Already exists. It's called Nokia LifeBlog [nokia.com] .

And YouTube already has a mobile uploading system. Go to http://www.youtube.com/mobile [youtube.com] to sign up.

Re:Direct cell-to-youtube uploads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17153492)

Also try ShoZu [shozu.com] .

Unfortunately, ShoZu is quite limited in the list of phones that they support, but it's a more direct-to-YouTube movlog tool.

Video away... (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149470)

Just wait until a few generations of ipods away that anyone can easily record and upload video. Blogs and youtube are the big thing currently. Wait until some one combines the two with a wiki and maybe GPS. If it really catches on, it would bring an entirely new concept to eye-witness if most people have these things going all the time. There was early an article about VR and "false memory". As soon as everyone can easily record and review most of their life, we'd quickly see how much of our human memory is "fals memory" that didn't actually happen according to what we ourselves record. How would society change as everyone could replay accurate recordings? Would life get better or will people stop caring about the recorded past. The concept reminds me of this dead comic: http://cdc.comicgen.com/ [comicgen.com] In it, there is a species that records everything and trys to act good and behave better because they know that their species in the future will be looking back on them and they want to make a good impression.

Interesting prospect (1)

TyrWanJo (1026462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149794)

I dont believe that there is any shift in the power structure, especially with regards to survailance, in reality, although citezenry with survailance technology does hinder the government and policing forces somewhat, these incidents still occur, and furthermore, are only very rarely documented. We saw Rodney King on tape, but how many other simmiliar scenarios have we not seen, and we have seen the UCLA incident, but it is foolhardy to believe that this is and will be the only time something simmiliar has or will happen.

The ubiquity of cameras is diminishing our right to privacey, which is something most people take for granted, to such a degree that no one really argues much about placing cameras on the interstate or in the city. At any given time, the people who are using these technologies, know where you are. National geographic had a show about survailance technology last night, and in one of the scenes, they followed a man through london as he entered the city, went to an office building, crossed the street to get a cup of coffee, and finally sat by a fountain to drink it. His entire day was chronicled through the use of cameras. Further, in Penn and Teller's Bullshit, the two magicians did a BS experiment to determine how trustworthy people were behind a camera, they set people up with survailance equipment to watch a truck at a house - telling the people they were working for a u.s. intelegence group. Without exception the people watched not the truck, but the people in the next house where a very lurid sexual scene was being enacted. The problem with cameras is not so much their existence as the people behind them. People would much rather watch something interesting than a truck, it's human nature, and there is no way to mitigate that.

By adding survailence to the citezenry, we are only declining the volume of our private spheres. Humans may be social animals, but our psychology demands that we have time alone - even married couples who spend their lives together have to get away from one another. By inculcating the world with cameras, whoever they may be hin the hands of, we are doing a disservice to this trait.

Finally, our whole structure of discipline is now determined by the panopticon that we currently live in. We do not behave because it is right or moral (and this is, i realize, a vast generalization) but becaus we are constantly being watched. These watching forces coerce us into action, and although we might agree that the actions we are taking are appropriate, being forced to take them adds a tension that, when released, is bound to have some catastrophic repricutions. Disallowing people to exist as private entities, disallows them to have an inner-life free of that feeling that someone is watching them. Granted the survailance that is in the hands of the government should be countered, by countering it with more survailance, is trying to right a wrong with another wrong.

The Panopticon Flourishes (3, Informative)

MuChild (656741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149918)

Michel Foucault came up with the idea that our society is based on a series of "social engines" that rely on the possiblity that any one person could be watched at any time. Which is why most drivers stop at a stop sign in the middle of nowhere at three in the morning when they know that there aren't any other drivers on the road: because someone might see them and punish them. He called this effect the panopticon after an 18th or 19th century prison design which allows one guard in a central tower to see into any of the cells arrainged in a ring around it (think the prison in Silent Hill: The Room).

He predicted that, as technology increased, the panopticon would become ever more pervasive and ever more invasive. That was a few decades ago. Sure enough!

The trick is, as others have mentioned,that as technology becomes more and more advanced, that people who were traditionally in the position of "guards" are now safely monitored in their own panopticon. Case in point, the nanny-cam.

I say let it roll! I say let's get every politician, police officer, judge, corporate CEO, etc. wired for audio and video and have it stream to the internet 24/7! If we can't hide, then neither can they.

No, people stop for two reasons: (4, Insightful)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150282)

One, because the law says to stop at a Stop sign. There are a good number of folks out there who stop because obeying traffic laws is the right thing to do. Let's just skip right over the obligatory /. moral relativism--there are people in the real world who don't feel a juvenile compulsion to break any and every law to prove they are somehow fighting "the violence inherent in the system." There are nonsensical laws, even laws that deserve to be ignored, but generally traffic laws don't fall into that category.

Secondly, they stop because they're aware of their fallibility. Just because it's three o'clock in the morning and they didn't notice any headlights on the cross street while they were approaching the intersection doesn't mean that there's no oncoming traffic.

I've been surprised by supposedly intelligent people I ride with who don't use their signals when changing lanes. The rationale is frequently "I already looked and there's nobody there, so I don't need to signal." My response is invariably the same "Haven't you ever started to change lanes and then seen someone you didn't realize was in your blind spot? That person has no way of knowing you're about to clobber them if you don't signal." The response is usually a non sequitur.

Re:No, people stop for two reasons: (1)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154054)

One, because the law says to stop at a Stop sign. There are a good number of folks out there who stop because obeying traffic laws is the right thing to do. Let's just skip right over the obligatory /. moral relativism--there are people in the real world who don't feel a juvenile compulsion to break any and every law to prove they are somehow fighting "the violence inherent in the system." There are nonsensical laws, even laws that deserve to be ignored, but generally traffic laws don't fall into that category.

What if you are at a left-turn red light and can see clearly enough in all directions to know you are not going to cause an accident. Clearly you could make the illegal turn without hurting anybody, so why not do it? They're isn't something naturally unjust about making an illegal left turn, so there must be something else stopping you from going. Breaking laws in itself also isn't unjust, so the thing preventing a person from making the turn in that situation is probably a fear of getting caught.

And yes, if a red light is forcing me to sit still in the middle of the night and there is no one around, I consider it stupid to follow the traffic laws. I have no problem breaking the law. I am perfectly capable of judging that situation, I do not need a set of laws to guide my actions. I do not view that as "juvenile" as you put it, it is in fact the opposite. I do not look to someone else to guide my behavior, I react in accordance with my own judgment. If I make a mistake, then I will take responsibility for that mistake.

Re:The Panopticon Flourishes (2, Insightful)

hungrigerhaifisch (938532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150434)

I say let it roll! I say let's get every politician, police officer, judge, corporate CEO, etc. wired for audio and video and have it stream to the internet 24/7! If we can't hide, then neither can they.
That would be the panspectrum then...which in comparison to the panopticum doesn't just 'suggest' that you could be being watched, but watches you constantly, or more precisely just records everything you or anyone else does 24/7.

But a question I need to ask, even if everything would get recorded (and in today's world a lot already does!), who cares?
What are the consequences? And more importantly, do all those cameras not make peaple forget their obligation to react when they see injustice?
The UCLA-incident, I mean, how many students saw and just watched or worse, were so perverse to pull out their mobiles and record it, instead of stopping the cops(or what ever they were) from torturing their fellow student?

 

Re:The Panopticon Flourishes (1)

MuChild (656741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150698)

In psychology they call it "the bystander effect" where responsibility gets difused among witnesses such that no one person feels responsibility rests with them to take action. It happens all the time, with or without technology. It is ameliorated, however, if people know they are or could be indentified.

Apparently, very small or very large cities are the places in which strangers are most likely to help. So maybe a society where everyone is being watched will at least be like a very large city?

Here is an option that's still in the pipeline: (1)

coldfarnorth (799174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150142)

The more technically inclined may be interested in the Eyetap. http://www.eyetap.org/ [eyetap.org] It's still under development, but would be exactly what you are looking for, as well as having many other applications.

Quis custodiet custodiens? (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150292)

"Who watches the watchers?" is an old question. The answer, if there is one, is "The watched".

People should have equal access to cameras. And in the face of criminal charges, the accused does have the right of subpoena and full access to any and all exculpatory evidence. When the Persecutor isn't being malfeasant, as they frequently are on TV.

Cellphone cams (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17150418)

Much as I dislike the theory of loading up cellphones with tons of crap, the higher-resolution, streaming-capable phones are almost the perfect tool in this case. Many cameraphones exist with decent megapixel ratings, and camera that can capture+broadcast live video. Of course, the data-plans are currently expensive, but I'd imagine that as such things move more and more into the mainstream they will become more reasonable.

I'm not sure 100% how the video works, but I'd be very pleased if providers offered a "picture/video server" option so that you could live-upload/stream your pictures and/or videos to a safe off-site location. That way, if you catch somebody doing something bad, and camera them... you still have the pics/video even if they steal or break your phone. This applies to all sorts of criminals including cops (because if you're breaking the law - i.e. by taking somebody's phone - you're a criminal, even if you're also a cop at the time).

David Brin - Credit Where It's Due (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151420)

SF author David Brin came out years ago with the same idea. That while cameras in all public areas that only the government enforcement agencies receive the feed from would likely be oppressive, cameras in all public areas that the public at large can tap the feed any time they wish would be a liberating advance. Just giving credit where it's due.

Brin (2, Informative)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151474)

One of my favorite authors, David Brin, discusses precisely this in one of his books, The Transparent Society [wikipedia.org] .

Any way to continuously upload images/video? (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153980)

I've been interested in ideas like Sousveillance [wikipedia.org] and the Transparent Society [wikipedia.org] for a while -- just see my sig. I'm curious though: Does anybody know of ways to record images/video on something like a cellphone cam and have them automatically uploaded on-the-fly to a server someplace? I imagine that would be useful for situations where there's a high probability of having the recording device seized, such as when you're recording a protest or abuse of authority.

Best way to get our government to change course... (1)

iq in binary (305246) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154004)

Is to alienate them in the same way we're getting alienated.

Surveil our senators, department secretaries, everyone. At all times.

After a quarter of them gets caught with hookers, the whole surveillance thing will go tits up RIGHT quick ;)
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