We Don't Need More Security Cameras
Timothy Carney argues that more surveillance isn't the answer
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Apr 22, 2013 1:34 PM CDT
An investigator inspects the area near a surveillance camera on the roof of the Lord & Taylor store, which proved crucial in the Boston bombing investigation, April 18, 2013, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

(Newser) – In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, many are calling for more security cameras and surveillance, which is pretty predictable, because every terrorist attack has Americans scrambling to sacrifice civil liberties on the altar of public safety, observes Timothy Carney at the Washington Examiner. "But the story of the Boston bombers—the details of their crime and their capture—makes the opposite argument," he writes. "We don't need more government surveillance. We need to maintain robust civil society."

"It turns out we already have plenty of cameras," Carney writes, they're just not government cameras. The Boston bombers were caught using footage from private businesses, and that's a crucial distinction. Unlike, say, London's ever-present camera array, this US system "requires the willing participation of the public." That might slow police down, but it certainly didn't in Boston, and anyway, much of our legal system is devoted to slowing down law enforcement. "The idea that we ought to leave civil order to the police" is downright "un-American." Click for Carney's full column.

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Apr 22, 2013 6:31 PM CDT
Tim Carney is assuming that crime occurs among many spectators. Unfortunately, it happens in the dead of night or on empty streets or at convenience stores where criminals flee undetected. I do nothing in public for which I should be ashamed or fearful of a spying-eye. My right to safety trumps my need for privacy -- except in the privacy of my own home.
Apr 22, 2013 4:59 PM CDT
Since when is being in public unobserved a civil liberty? You appear in public you are going to be observed whether by human eyes or a camera's eyes.
Apr 22, 2013 2:44 PM CDT
I got to see an early prototype of the new aerial observation platform that is set to be rolled out in Los Angeles within a few months. It features a 19 Gigapixel imaging array. That means it simple scans a large swath and the police can pull up the file later and zoom into tag and facial recognition resolution. It is supposed to help rapidly solve the drive by shootings, bank robberies, car jackings, break ins, and other violent crimes that plague Los Angeles. The plan is to launch up to five units per cycle and have enough ready to go to have an almost around the clock operation. Once a robbery goes down, they can zoom down to car level and literally follow the perp's car to one or more car exchanges. It then follows them to their home or apartment where the police simply show up and arrest everybody and sort it out at jail. Other technology in Los Angeles has proved very effective and it is then exported to the rest of the USA. You know about the dye packs and decoy bundles. How about the satellite tracking money bundle? That allows the air support units to quickly close in on the escape vehicle. Then there are the new electronic engine disablers.