Comment 26685

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 23, 2008 at 12:22:55

Have these cameras shown any noticable drop in crime rates downtown? There aren't many, so it should show up on a detailed analysis of crime patterns in the area (and don't tell me that there isn't enough crime at John and King to chart that).

I doubt it.

And what have they cost? I highly doubt that convenience stores and apartment buildings are paying anything like the tens or hundreds of thousands this project has cost us for their cameras.

This is one more step in a very serious trend of eroding privacy and expanding surveillance. It's everywhere. The increasing technological nature of our society is expanding it all the time - kinds of surveillance that would never have been tolerated with telephones are routine on the internet. Every email, RTH posting and instant message you send is being scanned. What's most terrifying, though, is that the apparatus for collecting, sorting and analyzing that information is becoming more complex every day.

I've seen it all before. In the days of the big anti-globalization protests nothing was innocent. It seemed like every march, no matter how small or nonviolent was stocked with bussloads of riot cops, undercover cops with cameras in unmarked cars and agent provacateurs looking for people to spy or entrap (and the Hamilton Police Force has been caught doing this). I've been followed at walking speed by unmarked cars, who stopped 20 feet back when one of us went into a store to use a bathroom, I've had undercover cops try to talk me into acts which would have bordered on terrorism, and I've seen private security companies paid by the city collect detailed dossiers on activists going about their normal lives, to the point of illegal photo lineups which netted one guy I know more than a month in jail on bogus charges. Funny, though, how virtually none of it ever shows up to prove somebody's innocence. Everyone from Bob Rae to Rita McNiel has been covertly watched by the Canadian state...

Never assume that because you aren't doing anything wrong/illegal that you can't end up on the wrong end of a cop, a courtroom, or incarceration. It happens every day.

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