Yeah. I also feel like annoying camera guy advances the argument in more interesting ways than the dress-up people; saying "cameras exist" is boring, but acting out why that's a problem is much more fun and useful. Cameras on their own don't feel intrusive because "nobody's watching anyway," and even if they are it doesn't feel that way at a gut level.
I don't know how to put pictures in this thing, but remember the study where pictures of eyes improved social compliance
? It's not the fact that you're being watched, it's the FEELING that you're being watched that matters (cf. the relatively quaint ideas behind the original Panopticon
?it only really works it actually deliver accurate punishments on a fairly regular basis).
Incidentally I do think there's a valid disconnect between people's natural complacency with passive surveillance and the emerging reality of the situation. Behavioral analysis isn't new anymore (e.g. the RNC
), people may ACTUALLY use the cameras for things other than their nominal purpose (e.g. Wally World taping their bathrooms
"to catch thieves"), etc.
As to the "invasion of personal space" bit, I'm pretty sure that IS the point. The Wal-mart people can give you a
reason why there are cameras, but that reason may or may not be accurate or complete, and it doesn't matter anyway. You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place, and anyone can overtly
observe anyone whom they can see from anyplace they're legally allowed to be. Even what we'd think of as creepy isn't a problem unless you trespass or do it "secretly"?I, like the police, can openly stand on the public street outside your bedroom or in the air above your property
and videotape through your open bedroom window if I feel like it (I don't, by the way).
To avoid properties which are under surveillance isn't exactly a viable choice if you plan on doing things like eating, drinking, or driving. As to the Wal-Mart example specifically, plenty of surveillance is controlled by government not private businesses (e.g. various police cameras, all of London and soon the whole UK
). I'm sympathetic to the point that, hey, this would be creepy if there were a person doing it, why is it not creepy just because it's mediated by a machine?
Lately I've been especially tickled by how "The Man" seems to agree that people are so complacent about cameras that they're a bit of a waste ... good for evidentiary purposes, useless for actual deterrence. PDs themselves are trying to make the man behind the camera more visible, through things like "talk-back" systems
as in the UK and awesome spotlights like in NJ
This is probably too long for one of these forum things isn't it. I'll stop. Sorry.