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Reasonable surveillance society

Cameras everywhere, but warant needed to access recordings
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I read this a while ago, it was an idea Doug Adams (the author of the Dilbert comics) proposed.

Cameras everywhere could significantly increase enforcement against crime. But we in the West as a society are cautios against doing that because of issues with enforcing too many stupid laws and issues with privacy.

So what Doug Adams had proposed is cameras everywhere, but the cops recordings are encrypted/otherwise kept secret, and can only be accessed by the authorities with a warrant.

I would further propose that before such systems get set up that the people can vote on which laws they want enforced, and/or vote to not allow the recordings to be used for certain small crimes, like jaywalking.

EdwinBakery, Apr 20 2011


       I'm assuming the encryption would occur at the source, otherwise access is as simple as tapping the wire / link.   

       How go things there in the land of Ingsoc, and the war with Eastasia?
RayfordSteele, Apr 20 2011

       I'm pretty confident this is how it works here in the UK. We're awash with security cameras, but not through any kind of big-brother governmental, centralised investment - yes, there are police operated cameras, but more often they will be local council, private and commercially owned and operated. Many will record, without being actively monitored. So if/when a crime does occur, the police will check out what cameras may have covered the areas under investigation, and issue warrants accordingly.
zen_tom, Apr 20 2011

       well, I meant they'd need a warrant to look at the data in the first place. And in the first place maybe the voters get to decide that certain crimes can't be issued a warrant for the camera data. Nobody would want the cameras to enforce stupid small laws like jaywalking. And I've heard some pretty messed up stories from UK and your ASBOs - nanny-fining everyone for stupid things.
EdwinBakery, Apr 20 2011

       Scott Adams.
nineteenthly, Apr 20 2011

       //but warant needed// They're called "soldier" ants, and while I'm certain they could thief a videotape or hard-drive easily enough, how would they know which one to take ?
FlyingToaster, Apr 20 2011

       This is the opposite of what we need. All footage of public places should be in the public domain.
mitxela, Apr 20 2011

       Samuel Delany took that approach in "Triton". Surveillance was ubiquitous but you could stop by a booth anywhere and see or hear a randomly chosen loop of yourself, due to a proviso in the surveillance law.   

       "Twelve years ago some public channeler had made a great stir because the government had an average ten hours videotaped and otherwise recorded information on every citizen with a set of government credit tokens and/or government identity card.   

       Eleven years ago another public channeler had pointed out that ninety-nine point nine nine and several nines percent more of this information was, a) never reviewed by human eyes (it was taken, developed, and catalogued by machine), b) was of a perfectly innocuous nature, and, c) could quite easily be released to the public without the least threat to government security.   

       Ten years ago a statute was passed that any citizen had the right to demand a review of all government information on him or her.   

       Some other public channeler had made a stir about getting the government simply to stop collecting such information; but such systems, once begun, insinuate themselves into the greater system in overdetermined ways: jobs depended on them, space had been set aside for them, research was going on over how to do them more efficiently—such overdetermined systems, hard enough to revise, are even harder to abolish.   

       Eight years ago, someone whose name never got mentioned came up with the idea of ego-booster booths, to offer minor credit (and, hopefully, slightly more major psychological) support to the Government Information Retention Program: Put a two-franq token into the slot (it used to be half a franq, but the tokens had been devalued again a year back), feed your government identity card into the slip and see, on the thirty-by-forty centimeter screen, three minutes’ videotape of you, accompanied by three minutes of your recorded speech, selected at random from the government’s own information files.   

       Beside the screen (in this booth, someone had, bizarre-ly, spilled red syrup down it, some of which had been thumb-smudged away, some scraped off with a fingernail), the explanatory plaque explained: “The chances are ninety nine point nine nine and several nines percent more that no one but you has ever seen before what you are about to see. Or,” as the plaque continued cheerily, “to put it another way, there is a greater chance that you will have a surprise heart attack as you step from this booth today than that this confidential material has ever been viewed by other human eyes than yours. Do not forget to retrieve your card and your token. Thank you.”
normzone, Apr 20 2011


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