Police Try to Block Citizen Surveillance

May 20, 2011  |  

(Salon) — What’s good for the police apparently isn’t good for the people — or so the law enforcement community would have us believe when it comes to surveillance.  That’s a concise summary of a new trend first reported by National Public Radio last week — the trend whereby law enforcement officials have been trying to prevent civilians from using cellphone cameras in public places as a means of deterring police brutality.  Oddly, the effort — which employs both forcible arrests of videographers and legal proceedings against them — comes at a time when the American Civil Liberties Union reports that “an increasing number of American cities and towns are investing millions of taxpayer dollars in surveillance camera systems.”  Then again, maybe it’s not odd that the two trends are happening simultaneously. Maybe they go hand in hand. Perhaps as more police officers use cameras to monitor every move we make, they are discovering the true power of video to independently document events. And as they see that power, they don’t want it turned against them.  But wait — why not?

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