Surveillance Cameras

Posted by  $  richrobinson 4 months ago to The Gulch: General
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A few days ago a local news story had a local Police Chief bragging about how quickly a convenience store robber was captured. He showed the reporter one of the borough security cameras and bragged about how they had been placed all over the borough. He said there was no public place in the borough you could go without law enforcement being able to watch you. This should have caused outrage. Big Brother is here. The reporter clearly felt it was a positive story.What's happening???


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  • Posted by chad 4 months ago
    Constant surveillance by the state is a violation of the 4th amendment. The idea of public is a misnomer used to violate the 4th amendment. Individuals have the right to privacy in their property, papers and persons no matter where that person may find themselves. The courts have ruled there should be not expectation of privacy in public and therefore anything you do among other people is considered automatically in their purview without need for a warrant or cause. If a private property wants to use surveillance I can avoid that, I cannot avoid government cameras on freeways and government personnel trying to determine if I might be a criminal because I use a highway too often. The database gathered by the government makes it easy for the government to control individuals that are not amicable to the rules and regulations that are promulgated by the myriad of bureaucrats interested in controlling the lives of others with violence not protecting individuals from criminals.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 4 months ago
    The legality of this is of great debate. On the one side is the argument that if something is in the "public" view, it can be surveilled without a warrant. On the other is the argument that that argument only applies to police when looking for specific evidence of wrongdoing by a specific person in a specific place and time and always-on cameras violate that provision of the Fourth Amendment.

    On the one side, the public cameras do significantly assist in catching lawbreakers, but does it place an unConstitutional burden on the common citizen? In my opinion, yes. Government initiated surveillance is only permitted based on a warrant. It should be as simple as that. Do individual businesses have the right to place and maintain cameras covering their individual premises - including the public walkways leading to them? I think that yes they do - provided they notify their customers of that.
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    • Posted by jimjamesjames 4 months ago
      "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

      Would seem to me that a camera, wherever, would be a violation of the "to be secure in their persons" clause.
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      • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 4 months ago
        What is the difference between a camera at a corner and a police officer standing at that corner? Would you say that the fourth amendment protected you from being seen walking down the street by an official?

        I don't think that observing people in public is what they had in mind when writing the fourth amendment.
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        • Posted by  $  4 months ago
          The camera is always there. Should not a law biding citizen be allowed to walk down the street without being observed every moment?
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          • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 4 months ago
            I would not assume so. That is the essence of the difference between public and private. If you are in public you are observable. Now if the camera works outside the capabilities of the human eye that's an issue. I also don't know what to think about observing your license plate at various places and assembling your route. That doesn't seem like something that a normal observer could do and should probably need some type of warrant. The question really becomes: When does acceptable normal observation become too capable and thus move into another category?
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 4 months ago
        Security has to do with search and seizure - not casual observance. The part that is up to debate is whether or not a constantly running camera constitutes "casual" observance. The other question is that if the camera is always on, it is always collecting "evidence" despite the fact that no warrant has been authorized. I find that disturbing.

        The same laws and logic apply to CIA/NSA eavesdropping on email and digital communications, because the communications lines are designated as public view as anyone can watch a router's traffic. If you view constant video surveillance of public streets to be an infringement on the Fourth Amendment, then so must also the CIA/NSA eavesdropping fall in the same boat.

        One last point of significance, however: the Fourth Amendment does not apply to anyone other than government. It becomes a civil suit when one person takes a picture - still or motion - of another. The way it usually works is that if you are in a common space, you have no expectation of privacy and can be surveilled or photographed without your permission. If you are on private property, you must first obtain the permission of the property owner.
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    • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 4 months ago
      I have perhaps a distorted view of privacy because I grew up in a small town. I remember stopping on the sidewalk on the way home from school one day and chatting with a girl. When I got home, my mother said, "what's this with you and Sally B*"?

      In a small town, there is no expectation of privacy. A few years ago, I revisited that small town and walked down the alley to get a view of the back of the house I grew up in. I noticed that I was being watched by three people in separate yards. I was definitely under surveillance.

      As to the warrant, if a policeman walking down the street observes someone steel a woman's purse does he need to have a warrant to act on this surveillance?
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 4 months ago
        "As to the warrant, if a policeman walking down the street observes someone steel a woman's purse does he need to have a warrant to act on this surveillance?"

        That's a different circumstance entirely. In order to get a warrant, law enforcement must show probable cause that a law was broken by a given person and that warrant enables law enforcement to legally search for evidence among the property in the warrant. A law enforcement officer observing a crime being committed is not seeking evidence (the purpose of the warrant) and is authorized to intervene.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 months ago
    There has been a radical shift on this issue.

    15 years ago I was working on a video conferencing system for Microsoft. One requirement was the camera had to have a mechanical shutter. Even though it was much more expensive than an indicator, they said people will be creeped out by a camera on them all the time, regardless of the indicator. Now most people have a camera on their computer aimed at them all day.

    20 years ago on some message board, possibly on FidoNET or something, someone said something like, "I know how to stop crime. Just put cameras on every traffic light; that'll stop it cold." I ignored it assuming it was an absurd suggestion aimed at trolling civil libertarians or it was someone sarcastically pointing out how bad the slippery slope can be. Now we do have cameras at every stop-and-go light.

    I remember a controversy around the same time about facial recognition software. Now everyone can use it to find photos of themselves on FB.

    I don't think the technology itself is horrible, but it does open a risk. The East German secret police had half the country spying on the other half. But there was no way to manage all that data. Now, in a time when DDR stands for Double Data Rate memory, there is. So we need rules and procedures to prevent abuse. We can't make the technology disappear. We need to keep it from being abused as much as possible.
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    • Posted by  $  4 months ago
      Excellent points Circuit. I found it hard to believe that the reporter didn't even mention that there are risks to this. The Chief of Police clearly thought everyone would feel safer knowing this. I do not feel safer.
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  • Posted by Jstork 3 months, 4 weeks ago
    If the cameras are there to help solve and or prevent crimes and keep citizens safe, I am all for them. The way I look at it: if I am not doing anything wrong, the I shouldn't have to worry about the cameras. After a while, many systems begin writing over the data thus erasing the old.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 4 months ago
    The presence of surveillance cameras isn't the problem, but the temptation to use that information in a way that violates the Constitution is. With the swamp creatures we see being revealed as the scum is being cleared from the Deep State, I think we're only barely scratching the surface of the many crimes they've committed.

    The frightening implications of the growth of universal surveillance were dramatically played out in the TV series "Person of Interest." The idea that there could be an artificial intelligence enabling unending tracking of any person from myriad sources may not be that far off. In fact, some of the things I knew from my work with the intelligence agencies led me to believe that concept might already exist.

    On the positive side, we're able to track down criminals faster. The Austin bomber should have realized that that he was likely to be caught on camera when he dropped off his package bombs at the FedEx shop. His real bonehead error was to park his truck right in front, where the license number could clearly be seen. Up to that moment, the police had no idea who the bomber was.

    Use of tracking technologies is only going to grow, and it will be abused, on occasion. We have to do our best to elect good people who will prevent such abuses.
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    • Posted by  $  4 months ago
      If the media is complicit, as they often are, and only report the positives (i.e. apprehending criminals) without reporting the abuses then there is no question this will be a major problem in the near future.
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 4 months ago
        For the time being (until they're censored) the alternate media online will try to get the abuses noticed. There is a concerted effort by YouTube to restrict what posters can say, just as all of the left-leaning social media sites are starting to do. Pretty soon the only really unrestricted free speech will only be available on the Dark Web.
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  • Posted by Solver 4 months ago
    Here’s a question. Where should surveillance cameras NOT be allowed? Some choices could be, schools, jails, churches, hospitals, airports, hotels/motels, day care centers, safe spaces, parking areas, businesses, government offices, restrooms, police stations, beaches, federal banks, military bases, people’s houses, meeting places, Washington DC or none of the above?
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  • Posted by  $  Ben_C 4 months ago
    Totally predictable. Now that society has shifted from self reliance to government reliance this has become the norm. I really appreciate CG's post - he gives the back story of the cameras and technology.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    Well, if it is a public place, I don't know. Of course, in a publicly owned place, such as a bathroom, I guess there should be a certain expec-tation of privacy. Also, in the public park of Richmond, there might be places, such as rock to sit on near big bush with a lot of grass, where a couple might want to rendez-vous (for decent purposes, I mean) where maybe they should expect some privacy. (But then, with all the attacks that could take place, who knows?)
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 4 months ago
    On a related note, Google executive and inheritor of neocon, Eric Schmidt (whose degree from Stanford was earned for a paper on how to lock out users), woke up to realize that drones could see into his property, so he tried to get them banned.
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    • Posted by  $  4 months ago
      Hi Mike.
      I expect new laws will be coming soon concerning drones. A few years ago a friend of mine told me he has a pretty nice drone with a good camera and he paid about $2500.00. He was amazed at what his could do for a modest price. Government has almost unlimited funds and we wondered what theirs could do.
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