Thursday, January 20, 2011

The New Face Of "Big Brother"

Did you read the George Orwell book '1984' when you were younger? I did. I knew all about the evils of Governments when I was younger. I eagerly fought the take-over of 'Big Brother' watching our every move. I even held out on getting a Safeway Collector Card, because it was just another ploy that could be used to track our movements.
As the years and decades went on, our lives have become more and more public. We use debit cards instead of cash, we are on camera every time we enter a bank, get on a bus, take a cab, and so much more. Every now and again we are reminded of that book from our youth, and the thought of Big Brother coming down on us, just that much more.
The City Councillors are talking about using surveillance cameras on our public streets in an effort to keep us safer. Again, my thoughts go to 'Big Brother'. Except this time, I am reminded that the book George Orwell wrote depicted a time when Big Brother watched your every move, including every corner of your private homes. We are a long way from the invasions of privacy depicted in the book.
So now, I think about my City, and what the City Councillors are considering. I am at the point where the City should do whatever it can to keep its Citizens safe. If that means putting a camera down my backlane, and another one on my front street, go ahead. Mount those cameras. Have the camera feed available to the 911 operators. Let the 911 operator who took the call from the woman on Redwood, who thought her hoouse was being broken into, check what can be seen from the view of the camera. Maybe they would be able to verify a crime was being committed, and send informed officers to the residence. Or maybe they would be able to see the people beating on the resident who was simply locked out of his home.
Don't stop at just the bad areas of town, but put the cameras everywhere. Let the emergency responders view the footage as they are on their way to the scene. Get an eye on the situation when the issue is first called in, instead of when the troops arrive, or don't. Maybe our 2nd murder of the year could have been downgraded to a lesser evil with a few camera and some follow-up.
I am just one person, with one opinion, on one street in the North End.


  1. Areed. I'm not doing anything I should be worried about anyone seeing in public places. Capture my image all you want. It's not like people are actually monitoring the video feed, it's just a tool to be used to review what happened at a certain place, at a certain time, on a certain day.

  2. The first word should have been, "Agreed". Sorry.