Apr 222013
 
 April 22, 2013  Surveillance, U.S.

Joe Cadillic, a frequent submitter to this blog and a private investigator in Massachusetts, expresses his concerns in a blog post:

Surveillance cameras — which have proliferated in London, Chicago and elsewhere — may take on new allure. Informal surveillance by private citizens may proliferate as well; the FBI says it expects the public to be its “eyes and ears” as the investigation continues.

The upside of this expanding surveillance network is clear — a greater potential for law enforcement to solve crimes and, in some instances, to prevent them. David Antar of New York-based IPVideo Corporation says video surveillance can be set up to trigger warnings if bags are left unattended or suspicious activity takes place before or during a large-scale event.

Read more on MassPrivateI

Can events in Boston be used to justify expanded public surveillance? They have that potential as people tend to use incidents to support their political agenda. And there is the point of no serious expectation of privacy in public spaces anyway. But what some – like Representative Pete King – are talking about goes beyond that. Joe writes:

Peter King sees the attacks in Massachusetts this week as a wake-up call to local law-enforcement authorities to increase their surveillance and awareness of potential terrorists.

“Police have to be in the community, they have to build up as many sources as they can, and they have to realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there,” the New York Republican congressman tells National Review.

Boston already has a fusion center. Did the FBI ever share the info they received from Russia about the older brother in 2011? If so, what happened? Is this a case – like we saw after 9/11 – that the FBI potentially could have recognized a threat and dealt with it before the acts of terrorism? If so, that doesn’t argue for more surveillance but for better analysis and follow-up of intel the government already gets.

Those yelling their heads off for more surveillance also need to remember that they are also talking about domestic surveillance of U.S. citizens. Identifying people by their religion does not strip them of their rights as Americans – or shouldn’t. I personally find Rep. King’s statements as offensive as the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program.  Claiming to protect national security by marginalizing huge swaths of our population just doesn’t cut it for me.

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