Sunday, April 16, 2006

Asking For Bullet

I am not advocating the destruction of government property. I am not going to incite anyone to commit a crime. It just seems to me that the citizens of New York City just might get a little ticked off at such blatant police surveillance.

It would not surprise me in the least if someone were to take up arms and start taking out these boxes with a high powered rifle. Vigilante justice at its finest. No one actually gets hurt and the people would be a little safer from government intrusion.

New York City is planning to install 500 of these units. Why do the police think that it is their duty to PREVENT crime? As it is, the police have no duty to protect you, that has been proven in the courts over and over again in cases where the police have been sued for delayed 911 calls and not enforcing restraining orders.

How long will it be before software is available that can scan the images produced by the cameras for evidence of a crime not even spotted by a person? How many innocent people will get caught up in abuse by the system?

While it is true that we have relatively little privacy in public, I am very uneasy with the concept of the government recording and storing my whereabouts. Face recognition technology will be used to store records of movement which can be retrieved by a simple query. Eventually, these images will, in the name of national security, end up in the hands of FedGov along with the images from every other city camera across the nation. One does not have to be doing something wrong to be come a target of malicious prosecution by a district attorney or Federal prosecutor. One merely needs to be politically unfavorable.

The question that supporters of this type of monitoring always ask is, "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"

My answer is simply that what is legal today, may be illegal or unpopular tomorrow. The other answer is that a trail of my movements which are stored and retrievable in a database could easily be twisted to form a very misleading picture of my activities and associations. That information in the hands of a political enemy could be devastating.

Imagine having to answer lawyers questions about what you were doing 10 years ago eating in a restaurant run by known criminals. Then maybe a year or two later you were known to frequent another establishment controlled by the same criminals. Even if no evidence stuck, you could be falsely painted as cavorting with criminals even though you had no knowledge that these establishments were connected, much less run by criminals.

If I had any trust or confidence in my government that this information would not be abused for political and other reasons, I might actually support it. Unfortunately, the government is run by people and frequently, those people are the type that seeks positions of power and influence and will use any method at their disposal for advancement. Some even think that it is 'best for the country' to abuse some to further their agenda because of the greater good.