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Do you want to be watched every minute you are around town?

In January, one of the lowest possible public involvement months of the year, the Police Department held two Town Hall meetings to showcase the claims by the corporation Flock Safety to sell us on the idea of putting cameras all over town to surveil our transit on City streets.

This system supposedly helps catch bad guys by identifying each and every car it sees at about 20 (so far) locations, checking you against its database, the State and Federal databases, and then alerting the RPD if the AI computer it uses decides you might be a bad guy. The argument for using this system is that it costs less than half an extra Officer and catches criminals. The basis for this claim is Flock Safety’s selective information from success stories.

  Let’s think about this a minute. This is an identifying and tracking system. It will see your car, identify it and track it from about 20 locations around town.  The result is supposedly better ID of bad guys. The certain consequence is that every single driver in town will be id’d, tracked and your movements stored in a computer for at least 30 days. You will be under the All Seeing Eye once this system is put in place.

  Now think back to a well known event in American History, the occupation of Boston by the British Army. Over 3000 Army regulars were placed in the streets of Boston to quell dissent and watch, watch, watch. Was this popular? Did the Citizens approve this?  Most certainly not. This occupation and the constant eyeballing of common citizens by the police force of the British was part of what made Boston a hotbed of resistance. In short, the people of Boston hated being “occupied”.    

So, is the presence of an all seeing camera system any different? Do you want to be watched every minute you are around town minding your own business?

Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

If you like being watched 24/7, then say nothing. If not, write the Council and say so.  This system will only progress to  ever more intrusion of your privacy.

Write City Council at >

Freedom to the People

Mike Neel