Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Showing the Mirror to Big Brother

Supporters of civil liberties have been justifiably up in arms over the Houston Chief of Police Harold Hurtt's proposal to put surveillance cameras in "apartment complexes, downtown streets, shopping malls and even private homes to fight crime during a shortage of police officers" (emphasis mine). But what's even more outrageous was the way he responded to concerns over invasions of privacy. That's right, he brought out the most lame (and often heard) position used to defend these types of actions by the authorities:

"I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?"

Yes, why should we? Well, a couple of commenters at Hit & Run make some good points:

I do plenty of things in a day that aren't wrong or illegal that I wouldn't want anyone watching on tape. Not every scratch, pick and adjustment should be public record.

Very true. Which is why I submit to a strip search and a rectal probe on command. I mean, I'm not trying to hide anything, so why should I object?

Right on. And what's even better is that Matt Asher has created a $1000+ prize for anyone who can capture on tape Police Chief Hurtt doing anything illegal, which will then be used to demand that action be taken against him. If you have any idea how many asinine laws are on the books, you'll know that this will be about as tough as making teenagers depressed.


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