I’ve been asked frequently about how camera phones impact privacy and how people are supposed to react knowing that they might be photographed anywhere, anytime – and my answer is always “Do you really think this is something new?” It’s a pretty safe assumption that in this day and age anything you do in public, and possibly some stuff you do in private is being captured on video or in photos. It sucks, but that’s the way it is.
That said, hearing about new cameras being installed in public places to monitor people still scares the crap out of me. Mack Reed is talking about just that. He’s got a piece over on LA Voice about a chunk of new cameras that are about to be installed in Hollywood and how our own Councilman Eric Garcetti might be behind a lot of it. He asks:
“I’d be curious to know how the residents of Garcetti’s district feel about the 14 cameras he just won a grant to install around Hollywood, Echo Park and Glassell Park to keep an eye on them. I’d also like to see Garcetti explain how he weighed the needs of law enforcement against the right to privacy.”
He also quotes a Times story asking where the LAPD will find the time to sort through the footage and how they are going to make sure the cameras don’t see anything inside people’s apartments. Those are all valid questions for sure.
There’s another school of thought that suggests measures like this actually make people less safe. Because there’s not a viable or realistic way to go though all this footage, rather than usual traditional police methods to find the bad guys, cops are wasting time trying to scan mountains of video. It’s like trying to find the needle in the haystack rather than just popping into the sewing shop next door.