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Does Post-911 Legislation Protect or Actually Endanger Us?

By       Message Kathryn Smith     Permalink
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http://www.aclunc.org/issues/technology/say_no_to_video_surveillance.shtml

The ACLU of Northern California reports:

“State-of-the-art video cameras may be coming to your neighborhood. Look for them perched atop 27-foot-high utility poles…on the rise in Northern California and across the nation…They can zoom in close enough to read the title of the book you are reading, the name of the doctor’s office you are entering, or the face of the person you are talking to….Footage can be watched and controlled over the Internet…Everything the camera sees and hears can be stored in perpetuity on a hard drive or database…Video surveillance does more than imperil our privacy. The cameras create an easy new tool for inappropriate monitoring, discriminatory targeting, voyeurism, stalking or blackmail…

“A British study of surveillance cameras showed that the cameras focus disproportionately on people of color, women, and those who look or act ‘Slightly different‘. One in 10 women were monitored entirely for voyeuristic reasons.

“From Scotland to Sydney, studies have shown that the installation of video cameras does not prevent crime. The crime simply moves from where the cameras are to where they aren’t.

“Community policing programs, not cameras, prevent, reduce, and solve crime. Video cameras only provide the illusion of deterring crime”.

So much for protecting us from terrorism.

Then of course, there’s the aborted TIPS program, in which Americans would have turned in Americans as terrorists. That was exactly what informed our friends’ big “SSSHHH!” in Budapest. Exact same legislation: Turn in thy fellow Hungarian spy to the government! The result was far from being safe: On the contrary, ordinary people and not only big fish in the pond knew that they all had to shut up.

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As for the TIPS program keeping us safe, I can say from first-hand experience, right here in the USA, that it will do anything but that. Better said, as the TIPS program is re-awakened in the Thought Crimes Bill, in which Americans are coached to suspect each other as terrorists, it will be Americans themselves who are actually endangered and not protected. When I wrote a letter to The PEN about the Thought Crimes Bill (in fairness to The PEN, let me stress that this was prior to the time that they “came around” and circulated a petition to stop it) they wrote back to me:

----- Original Message -----

From: The P.E.N.

To:

Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 11:21 PM

Subject: Re: here's another holiday gift idea

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“dear Kathryn,
so nice to hear from you.

we have received a number of alarmed messages about this. (cut)…. and we should emphasize we have read the actual bill, word for word, and according to its plain language.

….(cut)…and it is pretty clearly limited to addressing, for example ‘use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs’…are you asking us to DEFEND the use of political force or violence? not only would we not do any such thing, if we ever receive a communication even suggesting any such thing that is a zero tolerance ground for immediate and permanent removal from our alert list. we categorically repudiate anything but peaceful democratic change. period. …..” ….(Cut)

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This quote summarizes the nature of my concerns and the content of personal experiences which stir my activism: "Necessity is the plea for every infringement on human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves". --Paul (more...)
 

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