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NYC Police Comm'r: Privacy Is 'Off the Table' After Boston Bombs 508

Posted by timothy
from the for-your-own-safety dept.
An anonymous reader writes "New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly thinks that now is a great time to install even more surveillance cameras hither and yon around the Big Apple. After the Boston Marathon bombing, the Tsarnaev brothers were famously captured on security camera footage and thereby identified. That just may soften up Americans to the idea of the all-seeing glass eye. 'I think the privacy issue has really been taken off the table,' Kelly gloats."
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NYC Police Comm'r: Privacy Is 'Off the Table' After Boston Bombs

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  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:13PM (#43557421) Homepage

    ... drinking big gulp sugary drinks?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:24PM (#43557625)

      YOU LEAVE ABBY OUT OF THIS!

      • Privacy? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Jhon (241832) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:40PM (#43558989) Homepage Journal

        Is this really about PRIVACY? Or ANONYMITY?

        If strangers have the right to "see" me with their eyes as I walk the street and walk in to a store, is it so different if that "seeing" is recorded? Is that REALLY a violation of "privacy" when one is in a public place? I don't see a huge difference nor do I see it as a 'privacy' violation.

        I think what the "privacy" crowd wants is a right to "anonymity". And I'm not sure we have a right to "anonymity".

        • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by zzsmirkzz (974536) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:58PM (#43559247)

          If strangers have the right to "see" me with their eyes as I walk the street and walk in to a store, is it so different if that "seeing" is recorded?

          Yes, obviously. There would then be permanent documentation of every move everyone makes while in public which can be accessed now or at any time in the future for reasons which will not be made clear and will be subject to change at any time.

          I think what the "privacy" crowd wants is a right to "anonymity". And I'm not sure we have a right to "anonymity".

          No, what they want is their right to not be harassed upheld. Their right to not have every moment of their public activities stored as part of a permanent record. It is not unreasonable.

        • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Belial6 (794905) on Friday April 26, 2013 @02:03PM (#43559323)
          You are a good example of someone who is 80% down the slippery slope. Anonymity is one type of privacy. It is an important type of privacy. It may very well be the most important type of privacy. It is the type of privacy that you get when you mark a box on a ballot.
          • by Jhon (241832)

            "It is the type of privacy that you get when you mark a box on a ballot."

            Your example kind of illustrates my point. When you "mark the box on a ballot", you are generally in a PRIVATE setting (booth with 'security panels' so your anonymity is preserved and expected.

            However, if you are in a town hall and they ask for a showing of hands, that certainly isn't private -- it's public.

            You may very well consider me 80% down the slippery slope, but I consider you to be misunderstanding what "public" means. How ca

        • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Friday April 26, 2013 @02:11PM (#43559419) Journal

          I have read several different science fiction stories based on real technology, where face recognition tracks individuals and stores it in a database, along woth car tracking.

          One story even did a Google Earth kind of things and tracked you inside buildings as well. Type in a name, boom! Exactly where you are, and were, is known and logged.

          We do not want to give government this power.

          • by Jhon (241832)

            "We do not want to give government this power."

            While I don't necessarily agree with you, it may well be a concern. How about this: Leave it in the public domain.

            Weren't the Boston bombers caught by a privately owned security camera? And umpteen gagillian cell phone cams?

            Offer incentives to businesses or private residences to have security cameras (aside from their obvious function).

            Bias alert: Several private security cameras (home and business) helped ID the monster who kidnapped my daughter.

            • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by White Flame (1074973) on Friday April 26, 2013 @06:15PM (#43562297)

              What you're talking about isn't in the public domain. It's in the hands of multiple private individuals who present the evidence of their own volition.

              The problem with a single party having all control of information is that they only use it to protect themselves, and indict others. For instance, police officers have dash cams installed in their vehicles. Often when the officer is accused of doing something wrong, well gee we couldn't find that recording, or it's been overwritten, etc. But if you did something wrong on dashcam, well you can be guaranteed that it'll be retained intact.

              If many individuals maintain the information, then things come out on principle. This happened both in the Boston case and yours.

        • You do realize that you just posted that comment /on the Internet/, right Mr. Jhon (if that really is your name)?

          Jay: All these a**holes on the internet are calling us names because of this stupid f***ing movie.
          Banky: That's what the internet is for. Slandering others anonymously. Stopping the flick isn't gonna stop that.
          (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0261392/quotes)

        • Re:Privacy? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mlts (1038732) * on Friday April 26, 2013 @02:23PM (#43559565)

          Actually, it would be a third right: The right to have data destroyed.

          Right now, it is almost a mandate for businesses to keep as much data as possible indefinitely.

          What is needed is a discard date, just like with HIPAA patient records. For example:

          Camera footage has to be chucked after 30 days unless there is an active investigation (civil/criminal) in progress.

          Browsing records also get chucked after 30 days. This is long enough for a party to do a motion of discovery.

          These dates do not reset when the info is rented or sold, so an ad company with browser data has to purge it or else.

          Finally, information should have a copyright belonging to the person it is about. That copyright begins the day after the info expires. This way, if someone has expired camera footage, a simple DMCA takedown request will purge it.

        • Are you now, or have you ever been associated with the communist party..?

          I see here that you went to a party where over 10% of those in attendance were muslim. I also see here that you were at another even where 15% in attendance were clearly muslim. Note: that this is now part of your public record... Have a nice day.

          Sorry we don't employ suspected terrorists.
    • by Spy Handler (822350) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:11PM (#43558543) Homepage Journal

      Google glass-wearing hipster overlords will watch them.

      Another thought: if every citizen walking around is wearing his own personal camera and recording everything, and nobody has access to the recording but the owner, maybe we don't need police surveillance cameras everywhere. In a clear case of public danger such as the Boston marathon bombing, citizens will be glad to provide their footage to the police. Otherwise they can refuse to hand it over to anyone.

      • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:13PM (#43558587) Homepage Journal

        Liberty? OFF THE TABLE!
        Freedom? OFF THE TABLE!
        Justice? OFF THE TABLE!

        You are now safe from the threat we created for you.

        • by msauve (701917) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:15PM (#43558607)
          Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium.
        • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:44PM (#43559063) Homepage

          You are now safe from the threat we created for you.

          But still not safe.

          America will gladly take the tattered bits of the constitution and pulp them over what is realistically a tiny threat. But when lax zoning laws coupled with almost zero oversight (e.g. holding 1350x as much ammonium nitrate onsite and not reporting it or being inspected) lead to an industrial disaster (*) in which more people were injured and killed almost concurrently with Boston .... the owners might face some kind lawsuit, but you don't hear the public clambering for a police state nor do you hear politicians gladly acquiescing.

          Or pick any random refinery explosion, which often kill workers and are often due to aged equipment not being replaced (**).

          Now, I don't think industrial accidents should warrant pulping the constitution, but the response we take in such instances should at least be instructive -- there is the potential for criminal and civil charges all of which will take place in the context of a trial conducted under the normal rules of evidence and procedure pertinent to the type of proceeding.

          But when many fewer people are hurt or injured by a bomb, we go on a self-destructive freeforall.

          (*) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/us/texas-fertilizer-plant-fell-through-cracks-of-regulatory-oversight.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 [nytimes.com]
          (**) http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=9717 [historylink.org]

          • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:55PM (#43559225) Homepage

            America will gladly take the tattered bits of the constitution and pulp them over what is realistically a tiny threat.

            But remember, people who actually form new political ideologies and fight for the constitution and smaller limited government are the terrorists. At least according to the media, and the government itself.

          • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday April 26, 2013 @04:39PM (#43561351)
            The interesting thing I have noticed over the years is that people don't actually clamor for the government to do something after these events. What you hear is politicians, bureaucrats, and certain members of the media clamoring for the government to do something. The people who yell, "this is an outrage, the government must do something" fall into two categories: those who have been calling for the government to do what they now say this "outrage" means the government must do now without further discussion and those who see an opportunity to wring some advantage out of this change (these categories are not mutually exclusive).
    • Who watches the watchers?

      I really hate this question. It implies that there is a hierarchy of watchers needed, and the upper layers also need watching. This simply isn't so. What you do is have a mesh of watchers, watching both the field cameras and other watchers. For example, Watcher Abrams watches Camera A and Watcher Brown. Watcher Brown watches Camera B and Watcher Cooper. Watcher Cooper watches Camera C and Watcher Abrams. For larger groups, you could have a random mesh that switches between watchers and field cameras

  • no problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zlives (2009072) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:15PM (#43557455)

    as long as camera's are also installed inside police department in every office and interrogation room and are completely accessible by public.
      'I think the privacy issue has really been taken off the table,'

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:28PM (#43557723)

      When they talk about "privacy" they mean the privacy of the people who are not the police and not the politicians. They still get all the privacy they want.

      Because of, you know, "national security" and "terrorists".

      • by Raisey-raison (850922) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:36PM (#43557851)

        I really hope they don't put up ever more cameras. We don't need them. Crime has been falling since 1988 and the US murder rate is around 5.4 / 100,000 people. And that is close to its all time low. And terrorism is rare and unlikely to kill or hurt anyone. When can we start rolling out policy based on data and evidence not on fear?

        As far as cameras looking at police officers. We need a lot more of that. Police routinely 'beat people up' and conduct illegal searches. They need to be put on a short leash.

        • by egamma (572162) <egamma AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:50PM (#43558113)

          I really hope they don't put up ever more cameras. We don't need them. Crime has been falling since 1988 and the US murder rate is around 5.4 / 100,000 people. And that is close to its all time low. And terrorism is rare and unlikely to kill or hurt anyone. When can we start rolling out policy based on data and evidence not on fear?

          As far as cameras looking at police officers. We need a lot more of that. Police routinely 'beat people up' and conduct illegal searches. They need to be put on a short leash.

          You provided the per-capita murder rate. Can you also provide the per-capita for people beat up by police and for illegal searches?

          • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:52PM (#43558157) Homepage

            You provided the per-capita murder rate. Can you also provide the per-capita for people beat up by police and for illegal searches?

            According to publicly available police records, both rates have been at or below zero since 1776.

          • by DriveDog (822962) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:22PM (#43558705)

            Not accurately without surveillance of LEOs.

            You have been beaten by a LEO. You a) know the perp will not be busted, and b) can't afford to move your family to another city. Is reporting it going to go well for you and your family?

            Not in any sense am I blaming all the good apples for the actions of the bad, but abuses of power occur constantly, with rarely any consequences. LE attracts people with good motives, but also attracts those craving power. It's just the nature of the beast.

          • by Raisey-raison (850922) on Friday April 26, 2013 @02:02PM (#43559303)

            I really hope they don't put up ever more cameras. We don't need them. Crime has been falling since 1988 and the US murder rate is around 5.4 / 100,000 people. And that is close to its all time low. And terrorism is rare and unlikely to kill or hurt anyone. When can we start rolling out policy based on data and evidence not on fear?

            As far as cameras looking at police officers. We need a lot more of that. Police routinely 'beat people up' and conduct illegal searches. They need to be put on a short leash.

            You provided the per-capita murder rate. Can you also provide the per-capita for people beat up by police and for illegal searches?

            Well that's the point isn't it. We can't collect data because police lack effective oversight. If there was an an agency whose job it was to only oversee the police, who could not arrest civilians, and who had access to cameras, microphones and general surveillance of the police - then we could get an idea what kind of stuff goes down.

            You only have to look at the cases coming out of the Innocence project to see the incredible abuses by the criminal justice system.

        • I really hope they don't put up ever more cameras. We don't need them. Crime has been falling since 1988 and the US murder rate is around 5.4 / 100,000 people. And that is close to its all time low. And terrorism is rare and unlikely to kill or hurt anyone. When can we start rolling out policy based on data and evidence not on fear?

          Also, more policemen are more effective and cheaper (!) than cameras.

          CCTV, unlike policemen wandering around, does not prevent violent crimes. It holds people accountable, but that is not on the mind of these people in these situation.

        • Pick up that can. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:28PM (#43558791)

          As far as cameras looking at police officers. We need a lot more of that. Police routinely 'beat people up' and conduct illegal searches. They need to be put on a short leash.

          Pick up that can.

          Seriously, this country is fast turning into a giant open-air penitentiary where the gov and police are the wardens and guards and all the citizens are considered the same as inmates.

          It's easy to understand now why the gov is so ravenously desperate for gun control and elimination of our 2nd Amendment RKBA. When that's gone, then they can finish eliminating the 1st, the 4th, the 5th, etc.

          I used to think the right wing gun nuts were all paranoid delusional whacko's but more and more I begin to see that perhaps they may have been correct all along.

      • Because of, you know, "national security" and "terrorists".

        Also because being under the public eye all the time might be intimidating to police officers.

        Yes, I've heard that argument used.

      • by Hatta (162192) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:45PM (#43559073) Journal

        Remember there was more than one explosion caused by criminals last week. Is "privacy off the table" for fertilizer plants too? Fifteen people died in West, Texas. Why have there been no arrests yet?

    • by macbeth66 (204889)

      If I ever get arrested for something, I certainly do not want people to be able to bring up the video. Now, if you said that the videos were to be stored somewhere the police have no access, perhaps the Consumer Advocate's Office, I agree with you 100%. That way, the video is available should the police do something they should not be doing.

      • If I ever get arrested for something, I certainly do not want people to be able to bring up the video.

        You would if you were innocent.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If I ever get arrested for something, I certainly do not want people to be able to bring up the video.

        I was arrested for drunken driving. The video of my arrest is public record and I'm glad that's true. My lawyer said I didn't look drunk. He's seen plenty of these tapes. Turns out I was over the limit and the DA refused to plea bargain, so I got jail time for my first offense. A couple years later, that asshole DA was drunken driving. She was totally wasted. She had a bottle of vodka on the passenger seat. She argued with the cop. The video is public record. She refuses to step down from office.

        • by Teun (17872)
          The drunk one I saw in Houston did not need to argue with the police, even though she was hardly able to stand up in the line waiting for their car outside the nightclub.

          When her Porsche turned up the Cop for Hire helped her behind the wheel and was clearly heard as he told her "Now you stay between the white lines".

          That night a video would have been nice for road safety.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Question: Would more cameras have *prevented* the bombing? Because that's the only acceptable reason.

      Most of the photos used to identify them were taken by the public.

      • Re:no problem (Score:4, Insightful)

        by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:40PM (#43557933)
        Question: Would putting everyone in handcuffs when they leave their homes have prevented the bombing? Because that's the only acceptable reason.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Hognoxious (631665)

        Question: Would more cameras have *prevented* the bombing?

        It did prevent it.

        You're referring to the one in Time Square that these fine peace-loving immigrants were planning to do next, I assume?

        • Re:no problem (Score:4, Insightful)

          by rickb928 (945187) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:51PM (#43558129) Homepage Journal

          So batting .500 is acceptable.

          Ok. just trying to understand the expectation here. If I tolerate the expansion of surveillance, I can hope to be the second target for a group. If I'm the first, well, my sacrifice may be someone else's salvation.

          Ah yes, the difference between prevention and prosecution. Is this worth the infringement? I vote no, come back with a prevention plan.

          But I live and work in the Phoenix area, and we don't expect the Muslims to bomb us. Look for the illegal immigration advocates to do that here, more likely, though so far they have avoided such overt violence.

          And keep the flames coming. We're used to the heat.

    • No, sorry. Making it mutual doesn't make it any better. My privacy is mine, taking it away because of a bombing where three people died is ridiculous. That's a tiny fraction of violent deaths in halfway decently sized towns.

      If that's the reason for more invasion in privacy, then sorry, commissioner, but I'm far from convinced. I'd rather die in my boots than live on my knees. And your country was founded by people who thought exactly that, or they wouldn't have started the rebellion in the first place.

      If an

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745)

        You have no privacy in public spaces.

        So pitting camera in PUBLIC space is, by definition NOT an invasion of privacy.

        If you argument was that it has a chilling effect on normal public discourse, I would agree. The privacy argument? it's just stupid.

        • Re:no problem (Score:5, Interesting)

          by lgw (121541) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:12PM (#43558563) Journal

          You have no privacy in public spaces.

          So pitting camera in PUBLIC space is, by definition NOT an invasion of privacy

          Bullshit. I can expect plenty of privacy in public places. I can expect anything I do that's not too attention-getting to be ignored and forgotten. Only children think in terms of absolutes: "it's not absolutely private so it must be absolutely public".

          There's a huge loss in privacy between having a searchable archive of ubiquitous surveillance, and what people normally see and remember. Privacy is valuable, because it's an important part of dignity. I'm not going to give up any privacy without getting a large and proven increase in security, and maybe not even then.

        • Dear Mr Smith,

          we regret to inform you that we must increase your monthly health insurance fees by 50% since you were recorded smoking a cigarette outside Joe's Bar on April 12th. Also, you were recorded driving through McDonald's on April 15th, so we will have to bill you that dietician's visit we covered last month. And no skin-disease related treatments will be covered after April 20th, on which you were reportedly sunbathing continuously for 5 hours.

          Yours,

          Your insurance company.

      • The point is that any argument against recording the police is equally applicable to recording the rest of us. There might be people who use videos of the police to do harm? There are police officers who will use videos of the public to do harm. The police might have valuable information that should not be made public? We have valuable information that we cannot trust the police with.

        As always, the NYPD wants to have special privileges that the rest of NYC does not have.
        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          We have valuable information that we cannot trust the police with.

          Then do not stand on a public street displaying it to the rest of the world.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Hognoxious (631665)

        I'd rather die in my boots than live on my knees.

        Excellent choice of words [google.com] there. But like most internet tough guys you've never been in anything worse than a schoolyard punch-up, and until you have it's all big talk.

        • by lgw (121541)

          Well, I've never been shot, but I have been mugged, robbed, and assaulted multiple times, and I say I'm not giving up privacy for some illusion of security!

          Cameras help the government control the innocent, and do almost nothing to reduce violent crime (they do move it around a bit).

    • Kind of sensationalistic on their part, they were caught AFTER the fact. Big Deal. They get a reckoning with the state, and maybe a some justice is served but the reason for the cameras is really deterrence.

      • Did you miss the bit about them planning further attacks? Protip: criminals only commit more crimes if they don't get caught the first time!
    • as long as camera's are also installed inside police department in every office and interrogation room and are completely accessible by public.

      Why? No-one's proposing to put cameras in your home or office. They're proposing cameras in public places where people can already publicly gather and watch things with their eyes. Planning to do something you don't want people to know about? There are plenty of places more suitable than the middle of Times Square - with or without cameras.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:16PM (#43557469) Homepage Journal

    Never mind privacy, all of your rights are off the table. I imagine that fighting this is a bit like fighting windmills, but all this oppression does is it creates more negativity and more negativity will cause more violence.

  • What we learned... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:16PM (#43557471)

    What we learned from Boston was that there is no reason for centralized surveillance. Privately owned cameras (around businesses) provided enough coverage. And the police were then able to provide warrants to acquire the video. It worked perfectly from a privacy standpoint and in providing necessary information to law enforcement.

    • What we learned from Boston was that there is no reason for centralized surveillance. Privately owned cameras (around businesses) provided enough coverage. And the police were then able to provide warrants to acquire the video. It worked perfectly from a privacy standpoint and in providing necessary information to law enforcement.

      To clarify his point (yours is valid but you're not addressing his claims fully):

      Could more cameras in New York City help prevent attacks like the one at the Boston Marathon? That's what Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says the NYPD is looking into.

      The department already uses so-called smart cameras that hone in on unattended bags, and set off alarms.

      Emphasis mine. I totally agree with you but the argument here is that they could prevent attacks. I find that argument specious and foolhardy in that a bomb could be disguised as anything and a suicide bomber (as these individuals clearly had no intention of surviving a police encounter) would simply continue to wear the explosive into the crowd. I think they need to reevaluate what little benefit it would provide against the massive issues and rights violations it could cause system-wide.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        I think they need to reevaluate what little benefit it would provide against the massive issues and rights violations it could cause system-wide.

        You're assuming that the massive issues and rights violations are an unintended consequence, rather than the goal.

        Obviously cops want to be able to sit in a nice warm control room with a bag of donuts all day watching people on cameras, rather than going out on the streets.

        • Obviously cops want to be able to sit in a nice warm control room with a bag of donuts all day watching people on cameras, rather than going out on the streets.

          What? You mean like the TSA [vimeo.com]? (probably NSFW)

    • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:17PM (#43558643)

      I'm not really worried about this. Seriously, Obama isn't going to let these fascist New York assholes do anything to hurt us.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:18PM (#43557507) Homepage Journal

    On the one hand, this is the U.S. and we have a 4th amendment to our constitution, that does being secure in ones person in addition to papers and effects, which draws a pretty clear line(though not clear enough) about when a warrant is required. On the other hand, if you expect to have privacy on the streets of New York City you're dangerously crazy.

    It just leaves the open question of whether there's a limit of what we'll late the state do beyond what we'll let the public at large do.

  • by NixieBunny (859050) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:18PM (#43557509) Homepage
    Since the cameras we have in place already were sufficient to identify the suspects, we obviously need more cameras.
    We call this "logic".
    • But if I recall, those were private cameras, from a store.

      They cooperated with police, and gave them the footage. I doubt very much the police would have been able to demand it.
  • by DiEx-15 (959602) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:18PM (#43557511)
    You chose.

    Frankly though, why bother with CCTV when most people have cell phones with cameras? Instead of a governmental body being Big Brother, the citizens of the society do the monitoring for them?
    • 1. Your fallacy is assuming Privacy is mutually exclusive with Protection. It is not.

      2. This issue has already been discussed to death a thousand times before:

      "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."

      Which is better know as:

      * Those who would trade a little bit of freedom for temporary safety deserve neither.
      * They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
      * Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Sec

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "Frankly though, why bother with CCTV when most people have cell phones with cameras? Instead of a governmental body being Big Brother, the citizens of the society do the monitoring for them?"

      Soon everybody will be wearing Google Glasses and this will be obsolete.

      The CCTV will only be for cases where a bomb detonates and nobody is there to get hurt.

  • Huge Difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:21PM (#43557569) Journal

    Kelly dismisses critics who argue that increased cameras threaten privacy rights, giving governments the ability to monitor people in public spaces.

    “The people who complain about it, I would say, are a relatively small number of folks, because the genie is out of the bottle,” Kelly said. “People realize that everywhere you go now, your picture is taken.”

    There's a stark difference between a store knowing I am in their store and a centralized location storing all of my visits. And then there's an even further jump when it's a government doing that. I'm fine that I go into Gamestop and Gamestop gets tapes of me looking at games. I'm fine that I go to Chipotle and there's a camera on the cash register. I'm fine that I then walk by the entrance to an electronics store and I'm on their cameras passing by. That's cool, if they want to put together the odd footage they have of me going there, I'm not really concerned about that. And that's the stuff that ended up helping catch the Boston suspects.

    I'm not okay when one centralized location stores that data and my complete movements can be tracked. If a Gamestop employee got my address from a purchase and wanted to search my house, he'd have only the time I'm on camera to do it. If my whole trip is detailed, it could be done covertly quite easily.

    Decentralizing the stores of this video information has its own merits and disadvantages but I think there is a very small group of people that are uneasy with being videotaped at a grocery store by the grocery store yet a large group of people (once they think about what their tax dollars are being spent on) that would be uneasy about a government system centralizing this and putting individuals in charge of it.

    What worked here is that businesses realized they each had a piece of the puzzle to solve a heinous crime. This commissioner's claim that technology exists that would have prevented these attacks had it been a government controlled and centralized effort is largely horseshit and what benefits that pretends to provide are insignificant compared to the possible evils it could unleash.

    By the way, if this topic interests you then you should be watching Germany closely [www.dw.de].

    • by Bob9113 (14996)

      Outstanding post. Well presented and covers an important aspect that is often overlooked. Thank you!

    • by jfengel (409917)

      Thing is, they were able to solve a heinous crime by extraordinary means. It seems to me that he's wondering if they could solve everyday crimes if those means were made more ordinary. They're not going to dig up every bit of surveillance footage to solve your mugging; they lack the manpower.

      If they could, would it prevent those crimes from happening in the first place? Criminals generally have poor judgment, but they have at least a rough idea that if other people committing crimes are getting caught more

  • by dmomo (256005) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:21PM (#43557579) Homepage

    Then, any cameras being placed should be openly accessible to the public in real time. I won't like the presence of cameras, but at least this is consistent with the sentiment that public places are not to be considered private.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Then, any cameras being placed should be openly accessible to the public in real time. I won't like the presence of cameras, but at least this is consistent with the sentiment that public places are not to be considered private.

      You know, I'm not sure I agree with that. It might sound nice on first thought, but it's really not. That would just greatly increase the number of people you'd have to worry about abusing the system. It's like saying "that wolf might eat me, but if we introduce another wolf then I don't have to worry anymore". Nope, now you have 2 wolves to worry about.

      • by Brucelet (1857158) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:07PM (#43558467)
        I agree. Imagine someone stalking ex-girlfriends using omnipresent publicly-accessible cameras. Or planning a robbery with a partner monitoring cameras to tip him off when the police are responding. Maybe your workplace has someone checking cameras and asking why you went out to lunch after calling in sick. The correct response to Big Brother is not to give him more siblings.
        • I'm pretty sure the idea here is that if you wouldn't trust the general populace with this sort of power, then you REALLY shouldn't trust people in a position of authority with said power.

          One of the nice things about living in a democracy is that when problems are easily seen, the masses tend to actually give a shit and apply the correct political pressure on the people they elect. If the panopticon was publicly available, the abuse would be transparent rather than hidden away.

  • when i was a kid there were calls for the federal government to fund 50,000 extra cops nationwide to help control crime. people wanted to see cops constantly patrolling their neighborhoods.

    what's the difference between that and installing cameras? these days i actually want cops to crack down on dangerous drivers

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "when i was a kid there were calls for the federal government to fund 50,000 extra cops nationwide to help control crime. people wanted to see cops constantly patrolling their neighborhoods.

      what's the difference between that and installing cameras?"

      Cameras are cheaper and don't beat up minorities?

    • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:45PM (#43558013) Journal

      Cameras can be disabled with a $4 tool from a hardware store, or a $0.50 brick.

      Living, breathing cops are a bit harder to deal with, and if you do try to deal with them through the use of a $0.50 brick, you're likely to get several $0.30 9mm slugs returned in your direction at great velocities.

    • when i was a kid there were calls for the federal government to fund 50,000 extra cops nationwide to help control crime. people wanted to see cops constantly patrolling their neighborhoods.

      what's the difference between that and installing cameras? these days i actually want cops to crack down on dangerous drivers

      Well, if a cop is there and sees something going down, he can stop it*, whereas all camera can do is record the activity.

      * Not that he has a legal obligation to do so. [wikipedia.org]

  • When this is the response to what amounts to 2 douche bag gang bangers who barely fit the term "terrorist" by a stretch of the imagination. Besides privacy is not an issue in "public" (it was covered by reams of civil legislation) government surveillance use to be.

    Whatever, I don't leave my loft (f u basement dwellers) anyway.

  • If you want to install any kind of snooping devices of any sort in my private property, you can go frack yourself. If you want to install any kind of snooping devices in *public* property, though? Why not. It's public property, we already don't have any reason to expect privacy there, so... why *not* install cameras everywhere, as long as they don't get in the way of being able to do things? I'm all for police being able to catch criminals better.

    Now, you might argue, yes, but then we wouldn't be able to br

    • Thought experiment: imagine that you live across the street from a police station, and that you install cameras on your property that watch and record the entrance and garage of that police station. How do you think the police would react to that? How might they react if you published your recordings online, so that anyone could see them?

      Whatever the argument is for not having people watching the police applies to not having the police watch me. There are are corrupt cops out there who might use thei
    • People have their own reasons to not have their personal shopping, entertainment, travel, schedule, or companions available for all to see. It is within their privacy rights to demand continuance of that expectation.

      Cameras do not just track criminals, they track and record everybody. Granting government omniscience in the attempt to prevent (to use TFA's term) crime is deluded, and granting it to punish crime is too overreaching.

  • That just may soften up Americans to the idea of the all-seeing glass eye.

    How can a glass eye (blind by definition) be all-seeing? Don't mix metaphors if you don't know what they mean!

  • Totally absurd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:31PM (#43557773)
    Apart from the fact that it was all on TV, no crime of any real importance has happened. One harmless looking medical doctor in Britain killed fifty times more people without anyone noticing.

    Or take this: "A self-styled street preacher who lured three men to their deaths through job adverts on the Craigslist website has been sentenced to death in Ohio." So do we need to crack down on street preachers and Craigslist? Nonsense.

    If you compare killings by bombs during marathons, and killings by open-source file system developers, there isn't that much difference. So surely we need to close down open-source file system development as well?
  • It'd be like watching Cops 24/7 only without commercials.
  • The NYPD doesn't give a DAMN what installing cameras everywhere will do to people's privacy. NYPD has one mission and one mission alone: To protect the capitalist businesses in NYC from attack, most importantly of all Wall Street. You thought you could live in NYC with some anonimity in public places? Well, you simply thought wrong. NYPD will do anything to protect businesses in NYC. But protecting YOUR PRIVACY? That's simply not part of the NYPD's mission. NYPD exists to protect the big capitalist cahunas,
  • Pathetic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas has killed and injured far more that those in Boston. But, the media pays Texas little mind, compared to their scrutiny and "in depth" coverage of Boston.

    No one gives a second thought to Texas or fertilizer plants or any other industrial facility explosion. But 'ooh terrorists. Be afraid. Suspend the Constitution...'

    It's really quite pathetic. Even more so that my more reasoned position is outnumbered and shouted down by masses saying things like; 'so, you suppo

    • Re:Pathetic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SpaceManFlip (2720507) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:45PM (#43558011)
      It's all the media's manipulation of what people pay attention to. If you talk to individuals who can process thoughts within their own mind, it isn't unlikely that they can see the rational reality that the Boston Bombings were really not That Big of a Deal in the grand scope of things. More people are killed and injured on a daily basis just driving or riding in their fabulous automobiles.
      • Re:Pathetic (Score:5, Insightful)

        by erroneus (253617) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:33PM (#43558867) Homepage

        That's most definitely the truth, but it's hard to convince people to understand that their expectations of life are simply wrong. In a car or crossing the street, we all know, at some level, there is a certain amount of risk and possibility that something "bad" could happen... and when it's an accident, we can forgive and move on. When it's something else, we want to blame, punish and all manner of other things.

        Here's the thing though -- none of the things the government will do can make anyone "safer." It just makes it easier for them to do other things and to inhibit and limit others while permitting themselves and their friends added privilege, freedom and protection from public knowledge.

        Culturally, we have got to get a better grip on and perspective of reality. There was a time and a place where we could let our children run around free to play and learn and grow. We can't do that any more because we've been cultured into fear of everything. And this all happened in my life time as I recall as a 5 to 10 year old being all over the neighborhood without a thought of checking in at home or any such thing. I was always home in time to eat or go to bed... I did what was expected of me and my parents had no cause for worry. I'm 45 years old this year. PEOPLE have not changed. They have not. It is our fears which have changed everything.

  • "Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms." - Mayor Michael Bloomberg

    Yeah, Mayor. So lets beat them to the punch and take away those freedoms through draconian laws and big brother camera systems before the turrorists can! That'll teach em!

  • We need full camera coverage at all hazardous industrial sites. The fertizer plant that blew up in Texas had 270 tons of ammonium nitrate on hand, but were only authorized one ton. They acquired an unauthorized weapon of mass destruction which demolished most of the town. The owners should be punished accordingly.

    Hazardous area cameras should be monitored by OSHA, Homeland Security, the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union, and Underwriters Laboratories. That would keep everyone honest.

  • by verifine (685231) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:46PM (#43558047)

    We have to do something. Get people all worked up so they're not thinking clearly, then ram another law in their faces.

    Welcome to politics!

  • The public video taping police abusing their authority. For that you'll arrest citizens. While a no brainer that we can video tape police in public, it had to go to the Supreme Court yet again to be upheld yet again. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-supreme-court-rejects-plea-to-prohibit-taping-of-police-20121126,0,686331.story [chicagotribune.com]

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