Cameras and public places.
Greetings from the jury waiting room in the King's Country Courthouse in downtown Brooklyn.
Yes, I'm on jury duty. Hopefully for my bank account, it'll only last one day, because if I'm here deciding the fate of people by holding onto the scales of justice, well then I don't have a camera in my hand.
And interestingly enough I don't think I could have a camera in my hand. I just got back from lunch and the security guard put my backpack through the xray and had me open it on the other site to make sure my power adapter for my laptop wasn't a camera. It wasn't but it does beg the question, why couldn't I have a camera on my in the courthouse? Certainly there are enough cameras in here on everyones cell phones. And better yet, why can't I have a camera in most public buildings now?
You could argue terrorism, that maybe someone was walking around taking pictures to plan an attack, but that seems kinda weak to me. You could just as easily send in someone with a really good memory who could leave and sketch the whole thing out. Or I'm sure the floor plan is available somewhere. Hell, even the aforementioned cell phone cameras would do for most of those purposes..
You could also argue a privacy angle, that the people in the cases and jurys deserve to be somewhat anonymous. But I'm not going to pull out a Leica while I'm in the jury box.
That said, there are plenty of cameras all over this building, which I'm sure feed into some security room somewhere.
I'm not one of those people that thinks that all cops are corrupt or that the system is so unfair as to be comparable to a dictatorship or anything. But if they can watch me all the time, I think it's only fair that I can watch them.
I once read an article where some guy said that the surveillance society is more fear mongering and that you only have to point to situations like the beating of Rodney King to show how that sword cuts both ways. I thought he made a good point, but that is only true if everybody is free to capture and record freely. Yet there seem to be more and more and more places where the authorities are making it a one way broadcast that you can't watch.
And just to fight the powers a little bit. Here's a shot of me sitting here writing this, courtesy of my webcam. ;-P