FBI Announces Plans to Contribute to Advertising Blight

ObeyOn the day after Christmas, the FBI announced that it’s installing digital billboards in a number of major cities, including L.A., that it can update on the fly with important news:

The billboards will let the FBI highlight those people it is looking for the most: violent criminals, kidnap victims, missing kids, bank robbers, even terrorists, the FBI said in a release. And the billboards will be able to be updated largely in real-time –right after a crime is committed, a child is taken, or an attack is launched.

I’m sure they have the best of intentions, but something about that news totally creeps me out.

7 Replies to “FBI Announces Plans to Contribute to Advertising Blight”

  1. Cameras creep me out. Billboards seem like a good idea. However, they should just take advantage of existing digital billboards and rent adspace… well, whatever is most cost effective.

    But mostly, getting images up of missing kids, wanted felons, and other immediate alerts seems like a wise concept. I don’t see how dispensing info could ever be creepy.

  2. Hmm, governmental good intentions on paper always turn to terrible abuse in practice. This stuff creeps me out as well, welcome to the not-so-brave new world.

  3. I don’t see how dispensing info could ever be creepy.

    In a perfect world, I’d agree. Unfortunately, in the world we live in (and among organizations like the FBI) the line between information and misinformation is sadly fluid.

  4. It’s not so much “misinformation” as “misuse” of information. I’m reminded of “America’s Most Wanted” where every week John Walsh says “Let’s catch this scumbag, America” or “Let’s bring this dirtwad in off the streets.”

    Hey, Walsh, all ya got is a mug shot and an accusation by law enforcement and others. Innocent until proven guilty and all that razzmatazz.

  5. Rodger – really? I don’t see it that way at all.

    I’m going to say that if law enforcement doesn’t have a pretty good case, they aren’t going to let AMW produce a spot for them. That’s going to make them look pretty bad when they’re wrong.

    But, is it really that bad if they are wrong? If AMW is right, they get a bad guy. If they are wrong, and an innocent is brought it – one hopes that the innocent is able to show law enforcement pretty quickly whey they are being falsely accused, so law enforcement can get on the right track (which can only be a good thing). Back after someone they should be going after.

    I’d be curious to see numbers on the amount of people profiled on AMW that have been falsely accused. I’m serious – I don’t know the answer here, and firmly believe that something like that is a good thing. Since you do not, if you can give me any insight as to why it’s not a good thing, I’d appreciate it.

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