Police body cameras are not being implemented for the benefit and safety of citizens. It's another New World Order surveillance and identification data mining scheme which will rob law abiding citizens of the tiny amount of constitutionally protected privacy and anonymity they currently enjoy in the public sector. Like the miniature audio recorders which most police now carry, your voice is being recorded whenever you talk to a policeman. With body cameras, your picture is also being recorded -without your consent- to be stored and processed in government data processing centers both locally, and on the state, federal, and likely UN level. Traditionally, one of the reasons you don't want to break the law is to avoid having your picture taken and stored in government data bases. But now, whenever you are within view of a cop with a body camera, your face is being recorded. The recording is then processed by facial recognition technology which can identify your face among millions and millions obtained from photos you've already innocently provided to government agencies for a passport, driver's licence, etc. Now they've got your mug shot and know who are you, where you were located at a given time and date, where you live, who your relatives are, what you do, how much money you earn, etc., and yet you've broken no law and have consented to nothing.
The body cameras seen below can be recognized as video cameras, giving you some warning, but a video camera lens can be the size of a shirt button and not recognizable if a police department wishes to conceal their use.
Police body cameras are a serious violation of the public's right to, and expectation of, anonymity and privacy when going about their daily lives and happen to either pass by or talk to a policeman.
In the near future, if the police knock on your door to ask some innocent and innocuous question, your face (and conversation) will be recorded. You now no longer enjoy the anonymity you had before answering the door. The police now know who you are and more importantly -- where you live. This is further proof that we are being enslaved by a Big Brother totalitarian police state. Do you passively accept this next step in your enslavement or do you take action, organize, and fight back against those implementing these impositions upon your privacy?
Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, New Orleans, and other cities have begun implementing programs in which police officers wear body cameras while on duty. Body cameras are small video recording devices in the form of either a pager-sized box worn on the chest or a small cylinder that can be clipped to sunglasses or a lapel. Use of body cameras is intended to instill a sense of accountability for both police officers and civilians. However, as new the device is implemented and tested, it will raise several privacy questions.
n 1998, London was one of the first cities to implement a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) surveillance system. New York followed suit by installing 4,000 security cameras below Canal Street. This type of surveillance offers extraordinary law enforcement potential: we can track those persons of interest in police investigations as well as improve our ability to find missing persons or kidnapping victims. Still, introducing such powerful surveillance programs and technologies raises privacy concerns. As the number of cameras installed in cities increases, government agents increase their ability to track a civilians’ every move. The practice of using surveillance to protect citizens pushed the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to question whether citizen’s autonomy would be compromised if cameras documented their every step. The power to continuously watch people has also proven to be susceptible to abuse such as discrimination and stalking.
Body camera programs introduce similar privacy issues as CCTV. Integrating body cameras into the police force will provide clearer evidence of events surrounding police interactions with civilians. However, is encroaching on the privacy rights of police officers while actively protecting civilians truly beneficial to the public?
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released a document outlining elements to consider when implementing body camera programs within the police force. Of greatest concern is when body cameras should be set to record. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) argues that officers deserve to maintain subjective decision-making power about when to press record. In the document, PERF notes that if officers are required to record every interaction it will “undermine community...privacy rights and damage...police-community relationships.” However, the ACLU argues that body camera programs must “[limit] officer’s ability to choose” what to record. The ACLU fears too much subjective decision-making power by officers is detrimental to the effectiveness of body camera programs creating accountability in police interactions that range from casual to violent.
Similar to the implementation of CCTV raising concerns for encroaching on the autonomy of citizens to act freely, if body cameras worn by officers are set to continuously record actions, then an officer’s right to independently perform basic police duties and participate in personal conversations without surveillance will be impacted. If officers are filmed during candid conversations or interactions with his or her partners, the documentation is susceptible to abuse similar to CCTV. Videos could be publicly released and the content “misconstrued” to poorly represent an officer and used to taint the trust that should exist between an officer and a citizen.
If on duty law enforcement agents are to work while under constant surveillance, they will lose the right to independently and, perhaps, effectively do their jobs. Deprivation of officer privacy will damage the relationship between an officer and his or her superior because an employee forced to be under constant surveillance will perceive that his employer does not trust him. The reality of officer surveillance could also create tension between officers and civilians, especially if civilians interpret the surveillance as a black mark on an officer’s ability to do his job well. The privacy implications of body worn camera programs spark conflict between setting a standard of protecting the autonomy of officers while not impeding on the intended goal of recording interactions to create an environment of accountability.
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