28 July 2005

Stop The ACLU BlogBurst July 28, 2005

The month of July has seen some incredible tragedy and some incredible successes. And are we to learn anything from either? If the ACLU has its way, no. Let me explain. On July 7th, 4 bombs exploded in London killing over 50 people and injuring over a hundred more. Two weeks later, an attempt to repeat this attack failed. Now ask yourself why. First off, the bombers were all killed on the 7th. But several arrests were made in Great Britain and other countries in relation to the attack. Why? Surveillance. Londoners are photographed over 300 times on their way to work every morning. And although one can claim Big Brother is starting to peek his nose out of Orwell's novel and into reality, it has equated into several important arrests. The British are vastly more experienced in battling terrorism that we are. And they have adopted means upon which to combat it that has proven most effective. Now I'm no fan of adopting European solutions for any problem in the United States. But, the use of cameras on public land, buildings, and transports, may be an important investigative tool that could be utilized here. But not until after provisions are adopted to limit the possibilities of abuse. There is no need to know what stores John Q. Taxpayer shops in. But there is a need to know if crimes are being committed. And if CCTV is able to curb these criminal activities, then so be it. But, as usual the ACLU has their panties in a twist over the entire idea.
From News24.com Washington - Americans are weighing the merits of an all-seeing network of 24-hour-a-day security cameras similar to the system that has aided Britain's recent terrorist investigations. Britain's extensive network of video cameras allowed police to quickly beam pictures of the suspects in the recent London attacks across the globe. But any bid to expand the fledgling US network of surveillance cameras could fall afoul of freedom and privacy guarantees in the US Constitution. "The ethos we have in this country is that government leaves you alone unless it has good reason to suspect you of wrongdoing," said Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). "Videotaping everything you do when you leave your apartment or house doesn't really qualify as leaving you alone." Rudimentary Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, some US jurisdictions have improved their rudimentary closed-circuit TV (CCTV) systems, branded by opponents as "spy" cameras. "They are pretty scarce, as far as law enforcement CCTV is concerned. There are, of course, a lot of private CCTV networks," said Cedric Laurant, a policy analyst with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). Chicago has around 1 200 cameras, there are more than 200 in Baltimore and there are 20 to 25 police cameras in Washington, as well as a network in Metro subway stations, trains and buses, according to EPIC, a Washington-based civil liberties research centre. New York City has a burgeoning network, and there are also cameras in New Orleans and on transportation systems around the country, but analysts say there is neither the depth nor coordination of coverage that there is in Britain. Switched on Washington's system is only switched on for major events, like the July 4 Independence Day celebrations, though police have access to hundreds of cameras used by the Metro subway system and transportation networks in an emergency. Washington Mayor Anthony Williams sparked debate over CCTV following the first round of London attacks on July 7, which killed 56 people. "I have always been for broader use of cameras. I do not think that cameras are this big, mortal threat to civil liberties that people are painting them out to be," the July 14 issue of The Washington Post quoted Williams as saying. Inbred In the United States, a country with an inbred distrust of government, the question is: "Who watches the watchers?" "I do think it runs counter to the American ethos; the American tradition of our freewheeling national character is at risk of being chilled," said Stanley, stressing that the ACLU was not against technology being used in security but wanted checks on how it was introduced.
I believe that CCTV surveillance can be incorporated into the Patriot Act effectively. But I also feel that to remove the possibility of abuse of the system, an Amendment to the Constitution should be adopted concerning National Security and electronic technology setting limits on what it can and cannot be used for. Electronics are fast becoming more and more advanced to the point that abuses can and will happen. And it will be a fact of life that we will have to deal with video surveillance in the future. There is no way around it. But we can limit the ability of abuse. And it would seem prudent that limiting abuse be addressed before these technologies become a fact of life. Let's take an honest look at surveillance on a more local level. Casinos in Las Vegas are the most secure locations in the nation. Nobody dare to attempt to rob a Casino. Why? Because everything is watched. And everybody knows it. Yet, nobody complains. Why? People like the feeling of being safe. That's why. If adopted as a way to combat terrorism, CCTV would and should be available to local law enforcement in order to track down other felonies. That would only make sense. But again, there is no need to know what stores John Q. Taxpayer shops in, what he buys, or where he goes unless he is accused of a crime. The CCTV cameras can also be used to clear individuals of crimes which they have been falsely accused of. Thereby freeing up time of investigators to track down the actual criminal. There was a time in this country when there was a cop in every neighborhood. And that cop knew everyone in that neighborhood. And everyone knew him (at that time they were all male). CCTV can be a long overdue replacement for those cops who are no longer there due to budget concerns. Today's cities cannot afford to have a beat cop in every neighborhood, that knows everything about that neighborhood. But a camera which doesn't draw a salary could be those missing eyes.
A special thanks to my friends at Mudville Gazette and Outside the Beltway. Blogger's 1st Amendment Pledge If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.


Blogger Rudicus said...

Wouldn't it be easier for the conservative bloggers to simply all link back to the original source?

Since you guys all say the exact same thing in all of your posts, and they are all on the same subject - why not just have one person write the post and then everyone else link to that story - it would save you tons of time.

Just trying to help.

7/28/2005 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gribbit said...

Um... I wrote this. I quoted material from a souce that I have yes and sourced it back. But in my group, this piece was actually written by me. So do me a favor... GO POUND SALT!

7/28/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Is It Just Me? said...

Oh so this is where Rudicus went to. He's also hanging out with GTL. Funny, I don't think he's welcome there either.

Anyhow what I was gonna say was, Bill O'Reilly was mentioning today on the Radio Factor that he was under the impression that "coerced interrogation" was probably being used in the motherland to get the kind of information that is enabling these busts of the chains there in England and their contacts elsewhere. They don't have the civil liberties laws that we do AND the government can assasinate and we can't. I'm thinking those would be a couple of good amendments to look at in the near future.

And I was surprised by your test score - I thought you'd be a off the map Conservative.

7/28/2005 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

Rudicus, we have many who do just link back to the original source, and that is o.k. We have the support to do that. This however is an original work.

7/28/2005 11:54:00 PM  

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