Umm Big Brother! Watch us please.

Video surveillance has been discussed, but not really debated. In the UK, it’s a way of life, you can’t go anywhere in London or other major cities without being on camera. It hasn’t been so intrusive in the US, but you can bet it will be. Police agencies have been installing cameras, at first under the Patriot Act, to keep us safe from terrorists, and now, as in the UK, to just “keep us safe”. Civil liberties groups (ACLU, etc), have been consistently raising concerns about the cameras, but so far the public seems, at best, unconcerned.

Sunday’s Washington Times highlights just how far we appear to have come in the pursuit of safety.

The Citizens Association of Georgetown, a private neighborhood association, plans to pay for the installation of up to 10 cameras in the hopes that the additional surveillance will deter crime.

The No. 1 thing we would like is deterrence,” said Diane Colasanto, a member of the association’s public safety committee. “We just want crime not to happen here. But if crimes are committed, we hope the images from the cameras are images police can use.”

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)