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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, May 18

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Andrew Huff / June 15, 2011 12:36 AM

(Last touched upon back in 2004.)

I'm pretty lukewarm about it. Most of the time nobody even looks at the recording (if it's being recorded at all), but they can come in handy when something criminal or otherwise noteworthy occurs. Then again, I live my life on the Internet, where I'm tracked constantly, so maybe I'm just desensitized.

SJR / June 15, 2011 10:52 AM

I'm f*ucking pissed about it. Just do a google search on surveillance cameras and crime statistics, and you'll find lots of studies that show that cameras have very little impact on reducing crime. So who benefits? I'd say whoever is selling those cameras and installing them as well as whoever wants to send a message to the public that a) they are being watched and b) that the public's safety can only be ensured by everyone knowing they are being watched. I think those of us who don't really care about being tracked via these cameras need to keep in mind that some people don't have that luxury of nonchalance because the the color of their skin makes them more vulnerable to police harrassment. You know what I want? Someone to request data on how many cop cars blow off red lights based on the stupid traffic cameras. Unless they've programmed the databases to automatically delete cop car license plates, which wouldn't surprise me.

vise77 / June 15, 2011 2:36 PM

At this point, who cares. And I don't trust the people bitching. After all, we are a society that is increasingly giving away so much of our own privacy--more than even the NSA can mine in most cases--to private companies via social media, e-commerce, payment card transactions, GPS and all that. I am no luddite, not even close, but I find it pathetic that people bitch about Big Brother when we are all our own Big Brother.

In other words, the horse has left the barn and all that, and we did it to ourselves.

PMan / June 15, 2011 7:41 PM

I don't feel too bad about it. There are so many cameras that nobody is looking at just one and they are producing so much content that I don't think anybody is looking at just me. Also, they seem to come in handy some times, like the shots that police in Indiana are using to look for that missing IU girl. I'm more concerned that my phone may be making a log of all my movements or that 'Echelon' or some other system is combing all of my phone and internet activity.

c / June 16, 2011 9:08 AM

bottom line the continual decline of privacy is very sad and very scary. i am not following the herd to the social network parade, and am doing my best to avoid having a digital footprint. the internet is in permanent ink.

Spook / June 16, 2011 7:28 PM

They certainly don't match the proliferation of violent criminals.

Murders have been solved because of cameras in front of stores, apartment buildings, corners, parks, etc.

This type of American electronic paranoia exists on that( sound the Twilight Zone theme now) thin and porous membrane that separates Billy Ray who thinks "da govment" is coming to take his guns away and 45 year old Waylan who wears a tin foil hat so the Pentagon can't read his mind and spends his days atop his mother's oak tree watching for UN Black Hawk Helicopters in Butthair Alabama population 879.

c / June 17, 2011 10:01 AM

theres definitely a line between being a paranoid tinfoil hat wearing freak and simply acknowledging the realities of modern living.

many of the new technological developments that are coming out all the time are mindblowingly amazing (like the new face recognizing technology on facebook that scans every image uploaded from now on, you can turn off the results but it will still do it in the background), but everything is a mixed bag and tradeoffs, so with this awesome new stuff, comes a lot of creepy creepy stuff.

Mucky Fingers / June 17, 2011 10:42 AM

I'm very grateful for the surveillance cameras, someone has got to keep an eye on all those restaurants when they're closed.

babs / June 17, 2011 5:20 PM

I'm mostly in favor of the traffic cameras because I've seen them improve the safety of a particular intersection in my neighborhood.

The other cameras creep me out a bit.

I have no doubt that they occasionally help solve crimes, but is it worth it? I'm sure if every person had a camera on them 24-7 that would solve a bunch of crimes too, but I don't think many people would want that.

babs / June 17, 2011 5:25 PM

I take that back. I think there are a lot of people who wouldn't mind having a camera following them 24-7 and with all the other technology tracking our every move we might as well have cameras too.

It still creeps me out though.

John / June 18, 2011 11:24 AM

Get rid of the cameras and just give away iPhones - they're much better at tracking people.

Dennis Fritz / June 21, 2011 11:09 AM

They are at best expensive palcebos, and at worst they increase fear rather than assuage it. Worst of all, they normalize a state of perpetual survelliance.

To the best of my knowledge, no serious crime has been solved using images from the cameras. Yet, the sight of cameras is as likely to convince people they have entered a "bad" area as to reassure them.

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