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1984 Comes To Boston 886

walmass writes "In preparation for the DNC in Boston, 75 cameras monitored by the Federal government will be operating around the downtown Boston location. There are also an unspecified number of state police cameras, and 100 cameras owned by the Metro Boston Transit Authority. Quote: 'And it's here to stay: Boston police say the 30 or so cameras installed for the convention will be used throughout the city once the event is over. "We own them now," said police Superintendent Robert Dunford. "We're certainly not going to put them in a closet."'"
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1984 Comes To Boston

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  • 1984? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:48PM (#9732166)
    Don't you mean "London, England comes to Boston"?
  • by Cavio ( 217880 ) <> on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:49PM (#9732168) Homepage

    Is it even possible to live free and untracked anymore? Is this just the price we pay for living in a civilized society?

    I'm considering going to cash for most everything. Has anyone experimented with that lately, and what difficulties did you face?

    Support the ACLU and the EFF. Those are the people fighting these battles for you. The guy in the article who says "''I definitely think it's good for safety reasons," said Chris Bellomo, a 55-year-old teacher from Cheshire, Conn. ''I feel more comfortable [knowing] that, if something bad happens, more people are going to be watching and aware of it, and that help will be there if it is needed." forgets that freedom has a cost, and I'm willing to live with a little danger in exchange for being beholden to no man other than myself. As Penn & Teller say, these cameras are "Bullshit!".

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:54PM (#9732214)
      "Is it even possible to live free and untracked anymore? Is this just the price we pay for living in a civilized society?"

      If we lived in a civilised society it might be a price worth paying, but we have the worst of both worlds: an uncivilised society and a growing police state.
      • by treat ( 84622 )
        If we lived in a civilised society it might be a price worth paying, but we have the worst of both worlds: an uncivilised society and a growing police state.

        What we have isn't civilization? We have agriculture, arts, science, writing. Did you have a different definition for civilization?

        • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <> on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:25PM (#9732471) Homepage
          • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) * on Sunday July 18, 2004 @04:31PM (#9732980) Homepage Journal
            What do you mean? I'm free to express my politically incorrect opinions on race and class, I'm free to support the republican party, I'm free to go to the baptist church of my choice, I'm free to drive around town with the biggest flag money can buy on my car

            I truly, honestly don't know what you could be talking about.
          • by BlackHawk-666 ( 560896 ) <> on Sunday July 18, 2004 @05:11PM (#9733219) Homepage
            I think you guys in the USA mustn't have been paying attention lately. You have very little real freedom left. With the DMCA, surveilence cameras, a state that locks people up without charges and detains them indefintely, and a media so powerful they won't even let you share your films with your own friends over the internet, about all you have left is freedom of speech - and even that is in doubt. You fingerprint people as they enter your country, have IP laws that stop small software innovators from releasing a competitive product and still enforce the death penalty (which no civilised country still uses). Check your trousers, I think someone has pickpocketed your freedom while you were all busy buying the next big piece of crap that the marketeers have been selling you.

            You *had* freedom, that's for sure, but it's been eroded over the last few decades. You need to act now if you want to preserve what you have left. Let's face it, you can't even show a bit of tit on your TV during the superbowl, just exactly what sort of freedom are you talking about?

        • by asavage ( 548758 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:29PM (#9732503)

          1. Having a highly developed society and culture.
          2. Showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement; humane, ethical, and reasonable.
          3. Marked by refinement in taste and manners; cultured; polished.

          • by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:44PM (#9732617)
            Dictionary definitions are an existential statement - if one of the definition fits, then the word itself does. The degree to which it fits can usually be measured inversely to the index of the definition being used. The first definition here is the one most fitting to societies, whereas #2 and, especially, #3 are directed more towards an individual.
        • by antiMStroll ( 664213 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:35PM (#9732543)
          "We have agriculture, arts, science, writing."

          As did medieval Europe, the Romans and 'insert your favourite 20th Century genocidal regime here'. Your definition is broad to the point of being meaningless in the context of a discussion about rights and freedoms.

      • by SpacePunk ( 17960 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:27PM (#9732490) Homepage
        If that's the price to pay, then it's far too high.

        • by bigbadwlf ( 304883 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @04:17PM (#9732890)
          If that's the price to pay, then it's far too high.

          Why is it any different that a cop can see you on camera when they could otherwise see you as they drive by in a patrol car?
          We have cameras downtown here and the world didn't end on the day they were installed.
          Ask the potential victim of the first crime that's prevented because of the cameras if the price is too high.
          • by WNight ( 23683 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @04:37PM (#9733018) Homepage
            They won't exactly be the most unbiased. Your argument is nothing but a pathetic retread of "Won't *someone* please think of the children."

            Instead, ask the first government whistle-blower who is caught and vanished while trying to meet a reporter, because the FBI could use face-recognition software and a vast network of cameras to find him. Stupid emotionally laden arguments are easy.

            It's different to have cameras watch you than police officers in their cars because the patrol car is somewhat more visible. You know if you're being followed and watched.
          • by SquadBoy ( 167263 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @04:42PM (#9733044) Homepage Journal
            How the hell can a crime be prevented by a camera? Maybe at most solved a bit faster, but prevented? I don't think so. I wish I had my e copy of "Grimmer than Hell" so I could point you at Drake's Lacey stories. They make the point better than I ever could. I'll have to put up a link to it tomorrow at work. In any case let me address your points.

            " Why is it any different that a cop can see you on camera when they could otherwise see you as they drive by in a patrol car?"

            I'll address a couple of other possible points in addition to your question. A cop driving by who looks at me as some reason to do so and he is certainly not going to recall seeing me unless I'm doing something to bring myself to his attention. You could even go so far as to say that if he looks at me and recalls what I look like as a result of looking at me that I was most likely doing something to give him "probable cause" to look at and remember me. Now the point you are going to try to trot out next is what if they have a camera in cop car. Same thing there is still going to be some reason for them to point the camera at me and keep it on me for any length of time. Same thing with a radar gun. Granted most of them don't do it but the story they have to tell in court is that they looked at you for a few seconds and based on that thought you were speeding before they used the radar gun on you. What all of these things have in common is that there is a person making the choice to use his/her limited resources to pay attention to you. A automatic camera on 24/7 is going to record anyone in its range at all times. You have just removed both the formal and informal requirement for "reasonable cause" from the choice to notice, pay attention to, and record you doing things.

            "We have cameras downtown here and the world didn't end on the day they were installed"

            Of course it did not end. But there is a chilling effect and there are possible bad effects. Say for example you are a woman trying to get away from a cop who likes to hit you. Well you just made it harder to do so. Say for example you wanted to assemble with some of your friends and express the opinion that W is maybe not doing the best possible job in the world. Given the way things are going in general I know that I and many other people feel that it may not be such a good idea to do that where there are cameras. Over time the kind of chilling effect these things cause will harm the country and will lead to bad things. In any case hope the above helps you to change your mind.
            • by BlackHawk-666 ( 560896 ) <> on Sunday July 18, 2004 @05:21PM (#9733277) Homepage
              Say for example you are a woman trying to get away from a cop who likes to hit you. Well you just made it harder to do so.

              Well, wouldn't the women actually want the images of the cop hitting her on camera a-la Rodney King style. How does having this evidence taped and presented in court to convict the cop "chill" her freedom not to be hit.

              Say for example you wanted to assemble with some of your friends and express the opinion that W is maybe not doing the best possible job in the world.

              Since the right to free assembly is granted in your constituition you would surely be allowed to do this and the cameras would protect your rights. In fact, having them there might stop the police state from cracking your skulls with their batons, not a bad deal for the Bush disidents.

              • by paganizer ( 566360 ) <> on Sunday July 18, 2004 @05:55PM (#9733498) Homepage Journal
                You have a small problem with your logic.
                you are presupposing that the cameras will be controlled by, and only available to, honest, loyal, trustworthy boy scouts.
                Logic, and a brief period spent reviewing documented police power abuses, should make it obvious that this is very far from the situation we actually have.
                and, BTW, don't forget that the Governor of Georgia declared martial law so he could deny assembly permits during the G8 conference...
              • free assembly is granted in your constituition you would surely be allowed to do this and the cameras would protect your rights.

                Yes, because we all know that anytime we make a law or a way to enforce a law or a way to deter from breaking the law, it grants and secures greater freedom. Give me a break.

                That's like saying that having a courts system guarantees you will not be wrongfully accused or convicted of a crime like they were in Salem. We have a pardons and appeals system because the system is flaw

              • Well, wouldn't the women actually want the images of the cop hitting her on camera a-la Rodney King style.

                The issue is the cop using the surveillance to track the woman's movements. If she's dating someone else, the cop can learn this and then make excuses to harass that guy and scare him off. He can develop a profile of the woman that gives him a great deal of power over this woman, and with no safeguards in place to "watch the watcher", he's free to abuse that information as much as he likes.

            • How the hell can a crime be prevented by a camera?

              Umm, because you'd have to be pretty stupid to commit a crime in sight of one?

              Sorry, I'm just not paranoid and that's not going to change. I'm not one of these people who gets uncomfortable just because someone is looking at me.
              Maybe it's just a difference between Canadians and Americans that we don't sweat these kinds of things while Americans are (by comparison) more paranoid. Who knows?
              If I was doing something wrong, then and only then would I worry
          • by espo812 ( 261758 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @05:36PM (#9733371)
            Ask the potential victim of the first crime that's prevented because of the cameras if the price is too high.
            As has been said, cameras don't prevent crime. Another thing most people miss is that police also do not prevent crime. In fact, in Warren v. D.C. [] the court held "courts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community."

            You may think of police mainly as historians. They are charged with collecting the facts and figuring out what happened and arresting the person responsible. They are not there to prvent crime, only to deal with committed crimes. It is up to individuals to defend themselves.
      • Camera's in sydney city have been there for many years. We just ignore them. They serve as an advantage as generally there is video evidence for street crimes such as the occasional mugging.

        Also street cameras are hardly invasive, cameras are usually installed all over the city to monitor traffic, no one cries about that, and the reason is that they are pointed at traffice and the streets. What they aren't doing is lingering into people's apartment windows.

        I wouldn't cry foul about your city's police findi

      • by the_2nd_coming ( 444906 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @04:53PM (#9733120) Homepage
        hmm, we live in a police state yet we have the worst crime in the western world? you are aware that in a police state like Singapore or the soviet union in its hay day or China under Mao, the crime rate was nearly zero.

        we are far from a police state.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          the reported crime rate.

          1) crimes went unreported a lot to avoid drawing attention to it from the higher-ups
          2) crimes were committed en masse by the higher-ups themselves. Though they were often "legal" to the government, it depends on what you define as a crime.
        • Singapore STILL has corporal punishment, and while the repeat offender rate is close to 7%, far lower than the US' repeat offender rate for comparable crimes (i.e. felonies) of roughly 70% (my stats are four-five years old, sorry), it's really because more than half the people who are caned for severe crimes are either killed or beaten to severe incapacity. Is that how you want to run a society?
    • by noname3 ( 580108 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:58PM (#9732255)
      I've handed over thousands of dollars in cash for computers no problem. The worst flak I've ever caught was "may I see some ID?" while $1000 in 20s were passed under a UV light. I initially declined, but then flashed my driver's license because I didn't want to go to another store. Nothing was noted down, the cashier was too busy checking bills.

      I've only been ID'd once, but I've bought PCs, a laptop, and a thousand dollar PDA all in cash with no problem. Everyone has checked at least half the bills under a UV lamp though.

      Hell, a bunch of places have offered to let me avoid tax on small items if I pay in cash.
    • by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <> on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:08PM (#9732335) Journal
      I'm just waiting for some "patriot" who has line of sight to the lens to aim a laser pointer at it, and leave it there. Some cameras won't be vulnerable to this, but at least a few will be across the street from someone that has a condo with a balcony, wouldn't they?

      Lord knows that if I owned a small business or home near one, they'd never see shit out of it.
    • by leob ( 154345 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:11PM (#9732352)
      It was never possible to live free and untracked in a big city.

      What had changed is the technology that allowed to track you with better efficiency and with lesser expense (no need to pay an agent or a private detective to sit in a car across the street), that is all.
    • by abe ferlman ( 205607 ) <> on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:20PM (#9732428) Homepage Journal

      Privacy's gone. Abandon the flank and start insisting on reciprocal surveillance. You have no other choice.

      I'm dead serious.
      • Privacy's gone. Abandon the flank and start insisting on reciprocal surveillance. You have no other choice.

        I'm dead serious.

        I realize you're serious, but what you suggest is unworkable. Our "civil servants" (who usually seem neither servile, nor particularly civil) will inevitably trot out the "national security" bogeyman should anyone try publically track THEIR actions the way the actions of the average citizen are currently tracked privately.

        Additionally, you're left with the paradox that the people
        • by Thomas Shaddack ( 709926 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @06:15PM (#9733624)
          Additionally, you're left with the paradox that the people whose privacy you wish to compromise in order to level the playing field are the very people who pass the laws in the first place. Would nyone and everyone track YOUR movements? I certainly wouldn't!

          So don't ask them to vote for it and just unleash it upon them. Develop systems for anonymous whistleblowing, anonymous information sharing, anonymous publishing. Repurpose mainstream technologies for surveillance, use the same toys They have (or their cheaper off-the-shelf versions) against themselves. They may control the Laws, but we control the Technology.

    • by lpp ( 115405 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:26PM (#9732480) Homepage Journal
      I had a friend who went with cash for everything. He lived in an apartment and paid cash for that. A cell phone was out of the question for awhile (this was several years ago) until he managed to get a service plan with Sprint. It was the prepaid version of their plan. Of course, these days you could get a prepaid phone from just about anyone.

      The two biggest things I would see a problem with would be a) big ticket items and b) credit rating.

      The big ticket items like cars and especially houses are going to require you to either save the money and pay cash for them or have a rich relative willing to lend you the money. Saving for a car may not be a big deal, especially if you don't want or need the latest models out of Detroit. Saving up for a house is an exercise I don't have the patience for.

      A credit rating would seem to be useless. If you're living by paying for things with cash, what need do you have for a credit rating? Some companies, however, do background checks on potential employees, including a credit check. Also, and I wish I had more details, I recently was involved in "something" that at first glance I thought should NOT have required a credit check, but the other party did. After it was explained to me, it did some logical, even if I didn't like it. Maybe it was insurance? I don't recall.

      Anyway, you would have a bad credit rating because you would have no credit history.

      This becomes more of an issue if you eventually decide to go back to a non-cash lifestyle, at which point you begin to have serious problems getting better deals (finance rates, for example) on things.

      So continue researching and be careful. If you don't think you can stick with it, I would say it isn't for you.

      What you can do, though, is to reduce your footprint. Eliminate as many cards and other credit accounts as possible while paying for cash as much as you can. Stick with a car note, a house note and a credit card that you use to charge a little bit of money on each month while paying it off completely each billing cycle. Think of it is a "good credit report fee" when you see the small interest charge on each monthly bill.
    • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @04:07PM (#9732827)
      I am a civil libertarian, and yet cameras do not bother me all that much. It does not bother me that a camera might be watching me do something illegal in public. A cop could watch me do something illegal in public. Why does it matter if it is a cop or a computer? If a cop, cop watching a TV screen, or a computer manages to catch a criminal before he does something bad, good.

      The real issue, in my opinion, is not the surveillance. It is the laws being enforced by surveillance. What makes the cameras scary is that they might be used to enforce bad laws. There are a lot of laws that we as a people simply accept because we don't expect them to truly be enforced strongly enough for it to be a concern. The risk is that these cameras will make it easy to enforce bad laws imposed by a slim majority. Drug laws a prime example. We do not want them truly enforced. If everyone who has committed a drug violation at one point in there life was suddenly jailed, over half of the population would be in jail. Many people would be facing very long prison sentences. It isn't an issue because few people are actually caught breaking these crimes. Surveillance and improved policing powers such as cameras wouldn't bother me if there were not a lot of fundamentally bad laws in existence. I don't mind the push to monitoring public spaces for criminals so long as that push is also followed by an effort to eliminate unjust laws passed by the majority on the minority, or laws that have simply been around for a while and no on bothers to question any more.

      The secondary issue to this is the matter of who controls the information. We don't want corruption and secrecy. We want an open and fair society. If we truly want to push towards a society that has surveillance on itself, then it should be done in an open manner. Hook up the cameras to the internet and take an open source approach. Let the masses monitor themselves instead of doing it secretly in a police building. This sort of control is far too large to be trusted to only a few. It should be entrusted to everyone.

      The point is that we do not have a sacrifice freedom so long as the laws are made such that you don't have to be a criminal to be free. If someone wants to bring out their pipe during the DNC and take a few drags of old Mary J, they should absolutely be able to. You shouldn't have to be a criminal to be free. Our society should spend less time trying to control the guy next door and more time trying to snag the bastard looking to commit real crimes, like homicide, rape, and terrorism.
      • Living here in good old blighty (London) where we are constanly under surveilance, probably because of the decades of terrorism we can happilly light up the ole pipe and enjoy a Mary J. Despite Americans thinking we enjoy less freedoms than them, we actually have more. Next time the anti-cap demos are on saunter down and see how much leeway they give the protestors. Light up a J in the park over here, if an officer comes along you only get a warning - not prison time or a fine, a warning. We might not have
    • by danila ( 69889 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @05:25PM (#9733302) Homepage
      Is it even possible to live free and untracked anymore? Is this just the price we pay for living in a civilized society?
      Yes, it is. No, it isn't. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that increased surveilance is needed anywhere in the world. The primary reason why more and more tools are being used to track you and me is because the technology is available and the government can never have too much control (in their opinion).

      Nothing changed in our cities from the 1940s - the crimes are the same, rapists, burglars, gangs, murderers, pickpocketers, speeders, flashers, drug dealers - there is no change. Look back 100 more years and the 1840s will be the same. Go back in Europe and 1000 years back in time. The 840s, same crimes, no difference whatsoever. Then go back 1000 years more and move to Rome. Same people lived there, they lived the same lives, with same worries about the same criminals. May be they didn't have iPods with white headphones or expensive mobile handsets to lose to the robbers, but whatever trinkets they carried they probably cared just as much for them as we do for ours.

      How much police did they have? The farther back in time you go, the less police they had per 1000 people. In Ancient Rome there was no police at all. We are scaried of the crime today, they must have lived in constant fear for their lives, haven't they? Turns out, they haven't. Turns out that even without police people somehow managed to stay fine.

      So let me repeat, there is absolutely no reason to have CCTV monitoring of our streets, the illusion of safety they provide is just that - the illusion, but with the attached risk of government abuse. Do we want it? Perhaps not. Do we need it? Absolutely not. Can we change anything? Only by violently overthrowing the government, but it is probably already too late. It's too powerful and it won't die - it will grow, and grow, and grow until it devours the whole world and every free person is controlled by the police state. And ACLU or EFF can't change anything now, they can only slow down the inevitable progress to the totalitarian hell.

      Sad, isn't it?
  • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:49PM (#9732174) Homepage Journal
    anyone else wonder if the chief is a hacker who was just misquoted?
  • Bar-hopper (Score:5, Funny)

    by arakon ( 97351 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:50PM (#9732181) Homepage
    damn, I guess there will be no more public Urination for me...

    • Re:Bar-hopper (Score:3, Insightful)

      Maybe if Boston bars were open later than 1:30, this would apply. But Since we're a puritanical blue-law-happy city, our subway shuts down at 12:30 and our bars close at 2, latest.

      New York City, now there's a city where public urination is possible!
  • Defending Freedom? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by toetagger1 ( 795806 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:51PM (#9732185)

    "will be able to zoom in from their work stations to gather details of facial descriptions or read license plates""

    Somehow this tells me the terrorists won

    • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:55PM (#9732227)
      Cities were deploying cameras for years before 9/11 mostly for crime prevention. The technology behind them was only ever going to get better. Its not the terrorists winning, its law enforcement implementing a phased plan. How comfortable we all feel with it is another matter.
      • by toetagger1 ( 795806 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:57PM (#9732241)
        So all you are saying is that the terrorists didn't need to do anything to win.
        • by Qrlx ( 258924 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @05:51PM (#9733478) Homepage Journal
          I think it's quite possible for terrorists to lose, and for us to lose as well. It's a false dichotomy.

          I think these cameras will have very little effect on terrorism. How exactly would cameras have stopped 9/11 or Oklahoma City? Instead they will be used by the government to track, monitor, and selectively prosecute us.

          How does the saying go: Treat people like criminals, and they'll behave that way. Putting the world at large under surveillance is far too reactive a solution to the problems we're facing.

          Why do police write speeding tickets? The pigs would say it's to keep the roads safe. But that's just a side effect. The raison d'ete is to generate revenue. Parking tickets are an even better example.

          So no, I don't trust the government, and I don't see why I should be expected to. Their track record over the past 20 years is abysmal. Just look at the war on drugs. A criminal justice system that provides "customers" to a for-profit privatized prison system (NYSE: CXW). Civil forfeiture laws completely out of whack with common sense.

          Fundamentally, the government is not there to hold my hand as I traverse life. There are occasions when a helping hand is appopriate. But not every time I step out into public.
    • by Iesus_Christus ( 798052 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:21PM (#9732438)
      Has it ever occurred to all the "The terrorists have won" people that the terrorists more than likely don't fucking care about our freedom? They want us out of the Persian Gulf. They want us to stop helping Israel. They hate our imperialistic actions. But, if we were to leave them alone and not interfere with them, would they really go out of their way to bomb us?

      And this is only Al-Qaeda. The vast majority of terrorists out there are in it for one of two things: radical change on one issue that no one seems to care about, and drawing attention to themselves and killing as many people as possible. While the lower-level operatives of terrorist organizations often believe in what they're doing, the leaders are frequently just trolling because of their own psychological issues. Even without our freedom, they'd sill hate us.
      • by beakburke ( 550627 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @06:54PM (#9733862) Homepage
        From a historical perspective, many ideologial groups have attempted to use totalitarianism to achive their goals over the last 100 years or so, and even farther back of course. The first two, facsist dictatorships and communism, have suffered major defeats and are no longer the threat they used to be to free countries. Radical islam however is still a very entrenched and is now becomming a bigger threat to "free" countries.

        The idea of "leave them alone" was very popular before WWII, just like the anti-Iraq position is now. It hold a lot of appeal to people who think that somehow the terrorists wouldn't have been "mad" at us if we hadn't provoked them. I agree that the freedom itself isn't necessarily what upsets them, it's that many of us use that freedom to live our lives in ways that they don't agree with. Remember, the stated goals of Al-Qaeda et al. isn't just the removal of US troops from the Gulf, they really do want lifestyles they don't agree with wiped out. They aren't going to be happy to simplly have the US out of the Gulf. To steal a phrase "if you give a mouse some cheese, he's gonna want a cookie."

  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kentrel ( 526003 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:51PM (#9732186) Journal
    They're only cameras.. they're in public places.. What do you expect? Why do you care? Are you planning on doing something you shouldn't? If so, that's why the cameras are there. And FYI, by law, you're entitled to access any CCTV footage that contains your image, so exercise your right.
    • Naive or what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:57PM (#9732245)
      "Are you planning on doing something you shouldn't?"

      Indeed. Only those who've done something wrong, or are misidentified, have anything to fear... and no-one should be worried about a mere few years spent in Cuba because they were misidentified as a criminal. Of course what's legal today might be 'wrong' tomorrow, like, say, trying to cross the border to Canada in order to avoid being drafted to die in Iran or Syria, but as long as you're docile little sheep who do whatever the government tells you to do (and don't get misidentified), you'll probably be OK.
      • Re:Naive or what? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by peculiarmethod ( 301094 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:16PM (#9732392) Journal
        actually, it's already illegal to run to Canada. The US and the kanoooooks have had agreements in place for a few years now. Good stuff, huh?

        • Re:Naive or what? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Jardine ( 398197 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:48PM (#9732661) Homepage
          actually, it's already illegal to run to Canada. The US and the kanoooooks have had agreements in place for a few years now. Good stuff, huh?

          It was illegal to run to Canada to avoid the draft in the Vietnam era too. The difference now is that the Canadian government has signed a deal with the American government to send back draft dodgers.

          This is not something the average man on the street has heard about. I do wonder how long it would take after the first group of dodgers gets sent back before political pressure would force the Canadian government to stop. Remember that Canada has only once in its history had a draft. And those soldiers drafted were not even sent to the war, they were used to protect home military bases to free up the soldiers who were protecting them.
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Informative)

      by treat ( 84622 )
      Are you planning on doing something you shouldn't? If so, that's why the cameras are there.

      Is it really? Every 6 months or so, someone breaks into one of the cars in my building's parking lot. Despite being caught on several cameras, the perpetrator is never pursued nor apprehended.

      And FYI, by law, you're entitled to access any CCTV footage that contains your image, so exercise your right.

      What law is this? This doesn't sound plausible.

      Certainly any government-owned camera should make everything it c

      • In the UK the Data Protection Act (well, an extension to it under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 IIRC) specifies that you have the right to request any information that may be held about you from any data controller - this includes obtaining any CCTV footage you appear in.

        This is rarely used unfortunately, especially given the density of cameras here: I live in a fairly small town (Glossop, Derbyshire) and there are 8 cameras on the main street alone. I commute to work in Manchester by train and, betw
  • Hats (Score:5, Interesting)

    by toetagger1 ( 795806 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:53PM (#9732207)
    So will you still be allowed to wear hats or other facial coverings, so that you can't be identified by those cameras? Or would that be ruled as "unpatriotic" and grounds to be arrested?
    • Re:Hats (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ctr2sprt ( 574731 )
      No, more likely you'll see hat-based profiling. Those who wear hats look like they have something to hide, to the people who operate these cameras, so you're more likely to get detained if you wear one.

      Happened to me at work. Was out in the parking garage during the graveyard shift on a smoke break. Naturally the place has cameras all over. So I got bored of standing in the designated smoking area and decided to walk around and check the place out. The security guard came out and demanded to see my I

  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:54PM (#9732215) Homepage
    Let's say-- we of course hope this will not happen, but stuff is hard to predict-- there are, as is sometimes unavoidable in a situation where there are protesters (and I'm sure there will be protesters) instances of police brutality during the upcoming DNC.

    And let's say that the police cameras record this.

    Do you suppose anything will come of said recordings?

    Another question: when Britain installed similar cameras, there was some thing where some tripped-out version of the FOIA would allow you to request any film they had of you on those cameras. Does Massachusetts have any kind of state-local version of the FOIA that would allow private organizations to request copies of these Boston street cameras?
  • What rights are in question?
    People do NOT have a right of privacy in public. This is nothing new. This is NOT 1984! 1984 is government cameras in your home. This shrill scream of "1984" all time just weakens it's real meaning.
    • by josh3736 ( 745265 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:28PM (#9732496) Homepage
      What rights are in question?
      People do NOT have a right of privacy in public.

      Oh, but you do.

      Just not as much as when you're sitting at home on a beanbag naked eating Cheet-ohs.

      Like most other things, my expectation of privacy is not binary, 1 or 0, black and white. When I am at home on my beanbag, I have a full expectation of privacy. It is my very reasonable expectation that no one is watching and recording what I do, listening to my phone conversations, or going through my porno collection to see what kind of pornos I have. (Warrants notwithstanding.) When I'm walking down the street, it would not be a reasonable for me to expect that no one is watching me. However, I do expect that no one is following me around with a camcorder, and I think that is perfectly reasonable. However, I can resonably expect to show up on a camera if I go to a baseball game.

      Likewise, if I'm on a crowded street, chances are somebody will hear my phone conversation. If I don't like that, I should find somewhere a little out of the way so no one can hear what I'm talking about. But I do expect that the streetlamp isn't recording what I'm saying.

      I also expect that no one will look through my brown bag full of pornos-- It's my bag, even though I'm in a public space.

      The examples can go on and on. It's simple: There are varying degrees of privacy.

  • Sounds like (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <> on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:58PM (#9732258) Journal
    Boston is ripe for another Tea-Party...(ominous music here)

    It isn't the 'terrorists' we need to worry about - it's those who would 'save' us from them.

  • Now ask yourself (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 18, 2004 @02:58PM (#9732262)
    Who really poses a bigger threat to your well being on a day to day basis?

    A) Osama 'been bombin'

    B) The local police force

    Uhmm...hmmm...let's see.... 'B'!
  • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:00PM (#9732273)
    Maybe they can put one inside Fenway to watch the RedSox terrorize their fans with another losing season.
  • This is NOT 1984! They are installing extreme security measures in preparation for the DNC because of what the DHS tells them is a considerable threat from terrorists. Then, once the DNC is over, they don't want to just throw everything away. If this were 1984, they'd be installing the cameras in your house and Micheal Moore would vaporize.

    If nothing else, we've seen that (on the whole) it's morbidly inefficient for a single authority to try and use cameras to monitor a large area for an extended period of time.

    So far, every attempt at installing cameras to monitor the public by the government has been a huge FUBAR because people destroy the cameras, and the software that tries to automate the surveylance process sucks. So take off your tinfoil hat and stop hassling the local food store to order more spam for the compound.

    This is NOT a evil gubmint attempt to take over your life, it's an attempt to stop a potential attack on the DNC.
    • Hey guess what.

      Fuck using the convention as a way for the city to make money and move it SOMEPLACE RURAL.

      If it wasnt so fucking commercialized, they would. But its all about the money.

      Now thousands upon thousands of bostonians are going to be inconvienced for the joy of one group.

      Place it out in the middle of nowhere, they can have their circle jerk and it will be easy to see people who shouldn't be there.
  • Mobile cameras (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mikael ( 484 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:14PM (#9732365)
    Oddly enough, the police department in various parts of Scotland have discovered that the CCTV cameras installed on public buses have helped to catch criminals []. Fixed point cameras are helpful in deterring crime in certain areas, but eventually criminals figure out the blind spots in the system.

    I've seen the television sized screens on the double deckers []. A 16" LCD display is mounted on the ceiling at the front of the top deck of the bus. There are around six cameras on the top of the bus which cover the staircase, both sides of the back row of the bus; the favourite location for drunk teenagers -neds (Non Educated Delinquents) and the front of the bus. The display cycles through the entire set of cameras. Quite entertaining if you can get a front row seat. Then you can watch the ned-cam as the bus goes through the city.
  • by jjh37997 ( 456473 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:15PM (#9732381) Homepage
    Who will watch the watchmen? The watched!

    People.... this can be a good thing. The rich, powerful or corrupt have always had the power to invade your privacy because its just an illusion and will alway be so. Privacy laws just protect the powerful from being watched by the masses.

    Instead of fighting a lossing battle to stop this technology we need to ensure that it will be available to everyone and that the feeds will be open to the public. Put cameras on the streets, in the police stations and in government buildings. I don't mind being watched as long as I can watch everyone else. Imagine a world were everyone is equipped with their own personal cameras and recorders... with so many eyes spreading their light everywhere the world might become a more peaceful and happy place.
  • by darksaber ( 46072 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:19PM (#9732424)
    Actually, it's Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. [] Almost noone gets it right, even native Bostonians...
  • by dbretton ( 242493 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:25PM (#9732475) Homepage
    I propose that we put a video camera in every hallway and every office of all major government buildings and play the videos back in all major cities across America.
  • by Tony ( 765 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @03:29PM (#9732505) Journal
    Oh, for fuck's sake, people, this is not about our right to privacy; it's about the government's right to monitor its (presumably innocent) citizens.

    Do we want a government powerful enough to track us wherever we go? I don't. They *don't* need this power to do their jobs of attempting to protect us. (Nobody can "protect" us, they can only *try* to protect us.)

    Liberty is not only about our rights as citizens, but more about our rights to be free of a government that feels free to track and control us. That's why "free speech zones" are an abomination, and this surveillance is a slap in the face.

    If we allow our government to control us instead of us controlling it, we are no longer a democracy. (Are we a democracy?)
  • by Diplo ( 713399 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @04:50PM (#9733093) Homepage

    Where I live in city-centre Liverpool (England) there are CCTV cameras on all the main streets. If I walk out of my house, I'm on camera, and if I walk into the town centre nearly every step of the way I'm on camera. The aim is to have around 240 cameras around the city centre monitoring millions of square metres as part for the Liverpool CitySafe Initiative [].

    And you know what? When I'm walking back from town at night I'm extremely glad of it. When you've been assaulted and most of your friends who live nearby have been mugged then perhaps you'll understand why. I'm normally extremely libertarian in my views but when you and your partners safety are in question then it sadly pays to be pragmatic. The Guardian newspaper featured an interesting article [] on CCTV in Liverpool and it's privacy implications, but the fact remains that surveys show that 93% of people are in favour. It works, too, because crime has been cut quite dramatically as part of the initiative.

    Of course, were are more accustomed to CCTV cameras in Britain. We have the highest ratio [] of CCTV cameras per population of any country - something like 4m (or one for every 13 people). There are traffic cameras on many roads capable of snapping speeding drivers or those that jump red lights. It is estimated that each person in Britain is caught on camera 300 times a day. The implications are worrying, and the situation needs to be carefully monitored, but when I'm walking back from the pub at night I can't help but feel a little more reassured.

  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @05:39PM (#9733393) Homepage
    It's amazing how just a little juxtaposition could change everything.

  • The MBTA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @08:22PM (#9734323) Homepage
    Living in Boston I can say that the MBTA has really taken the task of stirring up paranoia and hysteria to heart.

    That creepy voice imploring you "if you see something, say something" is on the subway PA about every 15 minutes.

    The stations and trains are covered in posters depicting "vigilant" citizens doing their part to protect Freedom, close-ups of an eye reminding you that our enemies only wait for you to drop your guard - really straight out of some cheesy science fiction movie about a semi-futuristic totalitarian regime.

    Now apparently they are going to be doing random bag-checks for the DNC (I think they've decided on bag screens now, not sure if that's better or worse), and I am sure that's going to stop right after the DNC is over.

    So yeah, the MBTA is definitely doing their part in the whole fear mongering campaign.

Mater artium necessitas. [Necessity is the mother of invention].