Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Big Brother: Terrorist Surveillance on Knickerbocker Avenue

I have never understood how Londoners so blithely tolerate their every movement being filmed by 1.5 million CCTV cameras throughout their city (I just learned that the Bobbies are actually about to roll out homeview CCTV in east London, which will broadcast the live, unedited CCTV footage into voyeurs' home televisions. Police aver that "no privacy laws will be broken," which raises the question of exactly what kind of useless privacy laws Brits have in the first place). However Londoners live with it, I don't want to relinquish our privacy in New York without a fight, especially not in the tastelessly opportunistic name of preventing another 9/11. An activist I know (who has had her own problems with NYPD surveillance) just emailed the following observations about the new "anti-terror" security cameras in NYC.

The first wireless NYPD surveillance cameras went up on Knickerbocker Avenue in Brooklyn this month. If they are trying to stop terrorism, why are the cameras going up in a poor community of color in Brooklyn? Did anyone know about this project and its $9 million price tag? Who is watching these cameras? Are they hiring personnel to spend their days watching endless footage of subway cars and street corners? Intelligence failure, indeed.

Who is keeping an eye on the NYPD? And will they send you prints of the intimate moments they have recorded? (There are some things I have done on New York City streets that I definitely don't want records of...)

You almost have to respect the NYPD's boldness. If they had wanted to maintain the illusion of fighting terror, they would have placed the cameras in places in New York that are actually at risk of being targets of terrorism. According to the Washington Post article, "a 2002 study concluded that surveillance cameras used in 14 British cities had little or no impact on crime rates." All the footage is good for is helping the police more easily find and punish criminals after they've already committed criminal acts. So the only even remotely plausible place to locate anti-terror surveillance cameras is where the terror strikes might happen, not where the "terrorists" supposedly live.

It's preposterous to think that a single terrorist act will ever occur anywhere on Knickerbocker Avenue. What there are on Knickerbocker Avenue are young, poor black men. Giuliani's war against young black men continues.



Can you see the camera on the Knickerbocker Avenue lamp post? Is it dissuading you from pursuing that terrorist act you were planning?


Tags: new york, surveillance, NYPD, privacy

4 Comments:

  • At 12:18 PM, Blogger Yaakov Kirschen said…

    the old joke is about the guy who searches for his lost key under the light of a lamp post rather than in the shadows, where he dropped them.

    so maybe there's more light on knickerbocker avenue?

    great post,
    thanx

    Dry Bones
    Israel's Political Comic Strip Since 1973

     
  • At 12:26 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    New Yorkers are already watched on the street in many places. If you haven't seen it already, check out this map of private surveillance cameras watching public places in Manhattan. (PDF)

     
  • At 12:26 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Heh, very apt joke.

    Thanks, hopefully I wasn't too ranty.

     
  • At 12:38 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    AO- Scary map, but those are almost all private cameras (except for the Washington Square Park cameras, which caused a big stink when they were first introduced).

     

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