Aus: If everyone was your Brother

March 27, 2008 at 9:39 pm 2 comments

Why worry about Big Brother if everyone is your Brother?

It’s becoming more common to tap into the wisdom of the crowds, peoples’ power, citizen journalism. Major news channels like CNN and BBC now routinely include videos shot by everyday people which, in many cases, allow broadcasting footage that would otherwise never have been captured.

But, I think the New South Wales Police in Australia are going too far and, in my opinion, are close to promoting vigilantism.

According to an article in ZDNet Australia NSW Police ask public to be cameraphone cops, “NSW Police Minister, David Campbell, has revealed details of a new project encouraging citizens to capture video and photographic evidence of crimes on their phones and upload it securely over the Web to law enforcement agencies.”

OK, so I risk my life, jump over the fence, and through a gap in my neighbour’s curtains covertly use my mobile phone to film him putting a plastic bottle in the recycle bin without washing it first. Am I a hero or just a male version of a Desperate Housewife?

And what about that awful driver who can’t get his around a simple rule: at an intersection, when both cars are turning right, if the other car is on your right, that car has the right of way otherwise you have the right of way? Quick, whip out the mobile phone.

And what about that awful lady who thinks that just because the dog park is five steps from her gate, she doesn’t have to put her dog on a leash? Quick, whip out the mobile phone.

And what about…

Entry filed under: Aus, privacy.

SmartGate coming Making fingerprints less useful

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. David French  |  March 28, 2008 at 9:49 am

    …Although increasing the surveillance society normally makes me very uneasy and the police forces across the ditch (and here in NZ) are not always noted for their probity, I think that this is a step in the right direction. This is a step up from the well established 111 (911, 999 …) call with better information content. The French have laws against recording violent crime unless you are a professional journalist which seems a bit repressive, even for the Europeans, but there is a measure of sense in this. How about encouraging a society where it is normal to report crime to the legitimate enforcement authorities rather than publish for a dubious or prurient purpose? There is a problem however with the general capture storage of surveillance material … Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  • 2. Vikram  |  March 30, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks David.

    It’s not that I don’t see merit in the basic idea of police tapping into people power. It is good and proper for the public to give police photos and videos that may help solve a crime. That is so today and remains.

    What makes me uneasy is building a secure website to institutionalise the practice. The underlying message, taken to the extreme, sounds like being privacy-negative and promoting a society tending towards vigilantism.


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