I live in a neighborhood that has decided to put cameras at the only entrance in and out. It’s been heralded as the latest and greatest security to catch those petty thieves who open unlocked cars and grab whatever is in there. And they want more cameras, no misdemeanor is too small to capture.
I sense we are beginning to lose our ability to move around the world without being recorded. Government buildings, retail, TSA, most of New York City, Amazon doorbells linked to the police – they are all filming. Even Google Earth has pictures of my house.
I have cameras in my house, and although I think I am the only one who can look at them (they were made in China), I still feel creepy. Next up on the IT agenda is facial recognition software so we can know who is walking on the sidewalks, or in the store, the library, the casino, Planned Parenthood, the hospital.
The latest move to keep us all safe is an outfit called “Flock Safety” which sell cameras with car license recording capability for neighborhoods so we can have our protectorate overlords look out for us. Even the word “Flock” connotes sheep needing a shepherd to protect them. What a great marketing scheme, after they sell to one neighborhood they go to the next and tell them the crooks won’t go to the adjacent camera-surveilled neighborhood, they will now come to yours. Wanna buy a camera?
Europe is on the vanguard of trying to protect personal privacy in this age of the internet. They even have a “right to be forgotten” rule. The U.S. has done very little in this regard. Isn’t it time we established national rules on individuals’ rights to privacy? I don’t want to be on your website, your mailing list, your Facebook friend – I want to be left alone. Yes, I am getting older. Just the other day I caught myself yelling “hey, get off my lawn!”
It’s “1984” all over again.