The other day, we asked for your thoughts on the increasing use of security and surveillance cameras in public spaces — what is turning out, in fact, to be most of the public spaces we inhabit anymore. The new level of public scrutiny we live with today was the subject of a recent story in our newspaper.
We got a thoughtful reply from William Brown in Springfield, who writes:
“CCTV’s problem is that it has an insidious tendency to expand exponentially. An alleged means of preventing traffic accidents can blossom into a ubiquitous system of cameras monitoring every move we make. In Great Britain according to the BBC, ‘There are up to 4.2m CCTV cameras … about one for every 14 people.’ This could be the U.S. (us).
“Surveillance cameras are purported to prevent crime. They don’t. They might allow investigators to find the perpetrators of the crime after the fact, but the crime will still take place. If they deterred crime, the London subway bombings would never have occurred.
“And we need to think beyond cameras to the other technologies waiting in the wings. The drones are coming. … Combine the camera lens on your phone with an equally small transmitter placed on a drone the size of a butterfly. These could be coming to a city near you … very soon.
“We need to stop technology’s capability to destroy our privacy now, because soon it will be too late. We must strictly limit the use of CCTV by the government. And we must monitor and, where necessary, shackle emerging, invasive technologies. If not, privacy is doomed.”
Strong words, worth sharing. Want to keep the conversation going? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.