The St. Louis Metropolitan Police don’t want to put body cameras on their officers because it may violate their rights,… but it’s ok to put them all over our free Metro-St. Louis area and carry out surveillance on the citizens of St. Louis. That’s because they don’t care about the free-citizens’ rights.
Major Michael Caruso with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police, when referring to imminent, city-wide camera surveillance says, “It’s going to be a huge asset to us when we try to prevent or even solve crimes. This will have video surveillance evidence to find the crooks. What it will do is tie all the surveillance systems that are in existence now through the city, a bunch of private business and even some private citizens who have surveillance systems at their residences or their neighborhoods and stuff. We will be able to monitor these through the police department.”
This video surveillance main hub the Major described is called the “Real Time Intelligence Center”. All the cameras around St. Louis (city owned, business owned, and some private citizen owned cameras) can be monitored in one location. The Mayor, and all the metropolitan police departments are onboard the surveillance oppression train as well.
Did you notice his exclusion of “Body Cameras” worn by police officers? There is no mention of that at all. There is something precariously wrong with an official police department that wants to monitor the free people, but refuses to be monitored themselves. This sounds hauntingly familiar. This sounds like “East Block Germany” during the Cold War. The citizens were monitored and rewarded for informing on their neighbors but the authorities were immune because they were the oppressors. Is this what we have devolved into? Are we willing to sell our last atom of freedom and privacy in order to clutch the promise of security only to be once again lied to like the Orwellian “1984” novel? Wake up St. Louis! I’m going to give you a clue here folks. The Patriot Act requires that all video, and communication surveillance data be shared with the following: NSA, FBI, CIA, and the IRS as well as others. This data can be retained indefinitely.
“Lawmakers can no longer rely on constitutional law and technological limits—they need to proactively seek ways to harmonize constitutional rights and values with the new surveillance capabilities. . . Most people expect to remain anonymous in many ‘public’ contexts, such as entering an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, a psychiatrist’s office, an infertility clinic, or the headquarters of a religious or cultural group. Similarly, even when they are in a public place, most people expect to keep private the information that might be detectable from such sources as the exposed words on a vial of prescription drugs, the moving lips of a couple engaged in hushed conversation, or diary entries written by a person sitting on a park bench. Ubiquitous, technologically-enhanced video cameras could enable the government to routinely capture footage of all of these activities.” (The Constitution Project)
“Even if one is doing nothing wrong, a person may not want the government to know his or her every activity in public. And, of course, it is impossible to predict what the government may find suspicious. To quote U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “awareness that the Government may be watching chills associational and expressive freedoms. And the Government’s unrestrained power to assemble data that reveal private aspects of identity is susceptible to abuse.
In fact, we are well aware of governmental abuse of technology, both by entire police departments and by individual bad actors. For example, New York City Police Department officers have driven unmarked cars equipped with license plate readers through the parking lots of mosques to record the identities of every attendee. Police in Virginia used license plate readers to identify every driver coming into Washington, DC for President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, as well as a rally featuring Sarah Palin. As for individual bad actors, in 2004, a New York City Police Department infrared helicopter crew recorded a couple making love on a roof instead of monitoring its intended target. We need a system of rules to ensure that new technology doesn’t enable even more widespread abuse.” (ACLU Report on the Unchecked Rise of Surveillance Camera Use in St. Louis)
We must ask ourselves this: Are we willing to sell off all our God-given freedoms for an empty promise of security?
Benjamin Franklin summed it up perfectly when he wrote; “Those willing to give up their freedom for security deserve neither.”