A Law Student's Attempt to Understand It All.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Big Brother is Watching You

Flint, Michigan has two problems: crime and cash. To reduce the crime, the city wants to install cameras at 14 major intersections across the city. But cameras cost money, and so they want to have businesses sponsor the cameras. The cameras would feature the business logo: like NASCAR.

I love that Common Cause thinks the taxpayers should pay for the system. Common cause has never seen a tax-and-spend idea it didn’t love. While I’m all for sponsorship and all things hillbilly, this camera idea is ridiculous.

First, have cameras ever deterred crime? No. Just ask the thousands of convenience store clerks who are robbed or shot while their cameras capture the scene.

Second, do cameras solve crime? Not on their own. Every night, the local news posts some still image from a bank robbery or a convenience store hold up in the hopes that someone will recognize the man and call police with the tip. I somewhat doubt that the majority of cases are solved because of camera surveillance. Further, a good lawyer could easily cast doubt at trial when the state tries to use the evidence.

Third, this is a curtailment of civil liberties. While in the post-9/11 world “security” has become the idol of the public, all it has done is hassle the average citizen trying to go about his daily life. Remember my post on how the UK is now requiring old men to remove their hats in taverns. That is the logical step from security cameras. First, the government installs the CCTV system. Then it adds facial recognition, which cannot compensate for hats and glasses. So, the government steps in and bans the offending items. In the name of security, the government is now dressing you. The government has literally become your nanny.

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