The government told us shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001 that citizens should “watch what they say, watch what they do.” And now government is going to do that for us.
Washington DC, New York City and Chicago are three of this country’s largest cities. Each of them is a political, cultural and economic center. And now each of them is poised to become an internal spy center. Each city has a central government bureau designed to receive live video feeds from thousands of surveillance cameras deployed across each city. The surveillance system will be deployed against millions of American citizens living in these central cities who are not charged with or suspected of any crime.
I can hear the response from some quarters now: “You have nothing to fear if you’ve done nothing wrong.” You have nothing to fear unless you commit a crime like murder. Or theft. Or a traffic violation. Or improper parking. Or jaywalking. Or obstruction of official business. Or disturbing the peace. You have nothing to fear unless you are caught on camera with the sort of person of whom your spouse wouldn’t approve. Or your parents wouldn’t approve. Or your kids wouldn’t approve. Or your pastor wouldn’t approve. Or your employer wouldn’t approve. Or your neighbors wouldn’t approve. Or a voter wouldn’t approve. You have nothing to fear unless you are exercising your right to freely assemble with members of a small and misunderstood ethnic group. Or religious group. Or organization. You have nothing to fear unless you express a viewpoint that is beyond the norm.
Surveillance is control. Who has a finger above the “record” button?