From: Steve McBride <email@example.com>
To : <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 11:25:54 -0500
RE: video cameras
I agree with your concerns Heather. There are lots of things I do (legal
and illegal) that I don't want people catching on film. I don't think I
should have to pay a ticket for every time I've driven above the speed
limit. And while a store having a camera or two to deter thieves is
understandable, I'm at a loss for why Columbia needs one in a stairwell.
However, without more, I'm not too worried about cameras. For one thing,
can anybody coordinate this data? When somebody comes up with a way to
track everybody, all the time, on camera, and pick out the illegal or
embarrasing material, then I'll be really concerned. If we are there
already, I haven't heard about it.
For another thing, who actually cares about all this video? If you're a
police officer tracking somebody, maybe you do care about a few
videocameras, but if you are Big Brother, I would think you would rather
have things like telephone and credit card records. Watching me walk down
the street at 8:49 every morning doesn't really establish anything about my
behavior other than that I have to be somewhere at 9:00 everyday.
I agree with Heather that in certain situations, like a yoga class, you
don't want to be videotaped, but I think the concern there is more with the
yoga studio's use of the footage. As far as the government or large
corporations go, I don't know that they have the interest or ability to
make videocameras a concern for me. There are too many other forms of data
collection that I think are much more dangerous.
--On Friday, February 11, 2005 9:58 AM -0500 Heather Schneider
> Camden -
> I feel that even if I'm not breaking the law, that doesn't mean I want a
> video camera recording my every move. It's just a gut feeling I have; it
> bothers me. I'll see if I can articulate why...
> I think that to me the problems with cameras are (1) the one-sidedness
> of the transaction and (2) the ability to permanently store the data.
> What do I mean by one-sided? This is the same problem I see in the GPS
> location cases. The court says that placing a GPS on a car is just like
> following the car on the street. But I disagree. The GPS allows a party
> who isn't present to track my movements without me seeing him. In the
> old days, a police car would have to follow me. There is a chance I
> might see him in my rearview mirror and I could try to lose him. But
> with the GPS that's impossible.
> It's the same with the cameras. It allows someone who I can't see to
> watch my movements. Yes, when I walk down the street I'm "in public".
> But generally the people who can see me are the same people I can see.
> There is a _mutual_ lack of privacy. With the video camera I've lost
> _my_ privacy, but the person with the camera hasn't lost _his_ (or
> Plus, I don't like the fact that the data can be stored indefinitely.
> When I walk down the street people see me. But after a moment all record
> of that transaction is gone, except in our memories. In a few weeks, I
> probably won't even remember where I was at 2:15 on a Monday afternoon
> walking down Broadway, but the record of the camera will still be there.
> In that sense, the person who owns the camera will know and remember
> more about me than I do.
> So, you ask, why should I care if I'm not breaking the law? Well, there
> are a lot of things I might do that aren't illegal, but I still don't
> want a 3rd party who I never saw to have a permanent record of. I might
> go to an abortion clinic, a gay bar, a gun show, whatever. Hell, I go to
> _yoga_ class several times a week. There's nothing wrong with that, it's
> not something I'm ashamed to admit. But I wouldn't want the owner of the
> school watching our classes on video tape. That would just be plain
> So, if you don't have the same gut reaction, there is probably nothing I
> can say to convince you. But maybe you can at least see why it bothers
Computers, Privacy, and the Constitution mailing list