Let's Put Security Surveillance Cameras Everywhere
The ACLU is going to hate me, but I like seeing security cameras. I wish we had them up and down our street, quietly recording at short random intervals. Storage is cheap; you could store a lot of boring pixels of nothing much happening for short money.
I am absolutely serious. Yeah, I understand the supposed privacy issues, but I still would like to see high quality video recording everything, everywhere.
Yes, I have read all about how they don't stop crime and how criminals just wear hoods and masks. Well, if we really could have them everywhere and they were recording frequently enough, in theory you could trace someone back to when they stepped out of their home all dressed up for a robbery. Yeah, unrealistic, at least right now. The cameras aren't that inexpensive. But they might be that cheap someday.
But, as we'll see later, I have an idea about paying for all this through private enterprise, so it might just be possible.
When I say public cameras, I mean public in the way Google Street View is public.
I envision all these cameras feeding their GPS coordinates and their pictures up to servers that anyone could access. I would also suggest that you would only access them with positive identification and that you could easily see who else had been accessing the same cameras. Access by law enforcement personnel, government entities and corporate interests would have to be identifed as such.
Anyone could watch anywhere, but everyone would know who has been watching.
Privacy? This is no different than standing on a corner watching a street. You can see the street, and anyone who cares can see that you are watching. I see no privacy issues in that. If you are being watched, this system gives you much more information about the possible motives of your watchers.
Your personal behavior might change: if you know that video cameras are watching you wherever you are, you won't be breaking littering laws. You wouldn't let your dog poop without picking it up. Not having to pay for litter and poop pickup might save us enough to pay for quite a few cameras.
We'd have an easier time finding lost or abducted children and confused Alzheimers wanderers. Cheating spouses would have a harder time arranging their trysts, white lies to employers about being ill when actually skipping out to a ball game would be easier to uncover. On the other hand, you would know if your deception had been found out.
These would provide real-time traffic and weather. In the event of accident, fires or other emergency, they could provide important on-site views of the actual circumstances.
You wouldn't have to sign for packages and you would not worry about that delivery of Kruggerands being left on your porch all day while you were at work.
Alibis? Much easier. Unless it's a lie, of course.
Of course, I'd love having cameras inside my house, too. I'd have to pay for those (it isn't all that expensive now) and they wouldn't have public access.
Same idea, random snaps 24 x 7, data shipped off to some Google or Amazon server where I could go get it if I ever needed it. It could help me find my lost wallet.
Inside my home, I would want sound, too. It would also record parties, family gatherings, conversations - with my wife proving that yes, she really did remind me to clean the shower and I really did say "Yes, dear" and promptly forgot about it.
On the negative side, stalkers would find it easier to track their victims. Of course, their stalking actions would be known just as easily.
We already have cameras in many areas. It may seem strange, but with an open system such as this, the more cameras there are, the more your real privacy is protected. It would be easy to create software to advise you of any person or persons becoming too nosy about your movements.
I know the concerns. Police State. Persecution. Abuse. But again, if those watching are identified and logged, doesn't that become even less of a danger than it is today without ubiquitous cameras? I think it does.
Remember, government and corporate access would be identified. You would know if your neighbor or the CIA were tracking you. Open both ways. They see you, you know that.
And yes, I know that there would be secret access and false logging. Security gets broken with depressing frequency. But again, with open systems, we have more chance to spot fraudulent activity and bring it into the open.
Paying for it all
A company like Google or Amazon would provide the storage space. They'd pay for it with advertising and with charges for advanced searches.
Private companies would provide the cameras in exchange for advertising rights. They would still buy advertising, but each camera provided would either give them offsetting credits or it could be that their ads get more priority when "their" cameras provided the data being viewed. I'm sure there are other ways to provide the incentive.
Some companies would just see it as good public relations, much as they pay for highway cleanup now. Others would see advertising opportunities and still others might see clever ways to use the collected information for profit. Some of that happened with Google Maps and Google Street View, of course.
Is it really such a bad idea?
We do a lot of this already, except we don't have the other side which tells you who is watching. For privacy, and to avoid potential abuse, that's important.
I see many advantages, and few downsides. What's your take? Hate it? Like it? Not sure?