Argument: Crime cameras with ID technology deeply violate privacy
Josh Wolf. "Do crime cameras make us safer or just undermine our privacy?". CNet. September 25, 2007 - The [San Francisco] Chronicle goes on to explain how Chicago plans to expand the cameras.
- Chicago has bigger plans. Mayor Richard Daley said recently that the city will have cameras on "almost every block" by 2016, when the city hopes to host the Summer Olympics.
- The city is exploring so-called smart cameras, which could recognize faces and compare them to mug shots of wanted offenders, or sound an alarm and zoom in if a certain movement is detected, such as two cars colliding or a person falling to pavement. Lewin said police had spoken to manufacturers about whether a camera could detect the shape of a gun.
George Orwell foretold of a future without privacy and a world where children are encouraged to spy on their neighbors and their parents. He wrote about a world where the truth is constantly being rewritten to fit the current political conditions, and offered his book as a warning to the world of a future he feared.
The story of Chicago's cameras and how they landed Earl Gardner in jail for drinking a beer should trigger an alarm for all of us. The promise of smart cameras that can recognize faces and track citizens as they go about their daily business is an even scarier proposition and we only need to look to the story of Winston Smith in 1984 to realize that though such technology may reduce crime, it comes at a great cost that cannot be ignored.