they’re gonna make me a star!

Threat Level has a link to a story in the SF Chronicle about Chicago’s award-winning surveillance technology. I admit, there were times, waiting for the bus on a stretch of Garfield Boulevard late at night, I was happy to see the blue light of a CPD surveillance camera. But one person interviewed posed the big question:

“Would you rather be safe, or would you rather be private?” asked Eric Reynolds, 44, who on a recent Saturday was directing a crew fixing the brick exterior of a house on North Homan Avenue in Chicago…

Chicago has bigger plans. Mayor Richard Daley said recently that the city will have cameras on “almost every block” by 2016, when the city hopes to host the Summer Olympics.

Hmm, just like China. I’m not sure landing the Olympics is a good idea. And when it comes to chosing between “safe” and “private” – can I have a helping of both, please?

The irony is, it goes both ways. Police are filmed by citizens not always showing themselves at their finest moments. Footage captured by a student of another student being repeatedly tasered by campus cops has had over a million hits on YouTube and prompted a thorough if rather late report on the incident.

Just one more conundrum to ponder in the digital age… one that you can keep up with through the Electronic Frontier Foundation if you’re so inclined.

2 Responses to they’re gonna make me a star!

  1. Peter says:

    I don’t know, I’d be able to take complaints about surveillance photos of red-light runners more seriously if the same people also cancelled most of their credit cards and acted in other provacy-protecting ways that might inconvenience them a bit.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

  2. Barbara says:

    Yeah, it’s strange … the US is stricter with its government than with corporations (Europe is much more likely to regulate corporate use of private information than we are here) – and most Americans are complacent about it.

    It’s one of the interesting things you discover reading crime fiction from around the world – different approaches to privacy and law enforcement from one country to another. Arnaldur Indridason’s Jar City is animated by whether a corporation should own the DNA of Iceland’s citizens and what the implications are. In reality, Icelanders rejected the deal in spite of the promise of medical advances because it was simply too much information in private hands that could be abused.

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