Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Who will 'Camden Camera' watch next?

Longtime public officer and civic leader has some questions

Who will 'Camden Camera' watch next?

Tuesday's column about using the 'Camden Camera' surveillance system to deter illegal drug buyers drew a thoughtful response from former city school board member Jose Delgado.

"I understand the frustration and fear that resides in the hearts of many people living at or near these drug corners. But their welcoming attitude towards 24-7 police surveillance affects all of us.

"'Big Brother' doesn't barge in uninvited; he is welcomed as a savior, at least at first.

"It is only later, usually when it is too late, that the public realizes that the authorities, not the people, decide around which corner the cameras will peek.

"Soon they will develop highly sophisticated microphones sensitive enough to pick up the conversations between dealer and buyer. The public will agree that they be installed. No need to worry, they'll only be used against the “bad guys.” Wonderful prosecuting tool. No need for a warrant to spy on the "bad guys."

"But who decides who are the “bad guys?” Remember the 60's and 70's radicals that were merely challenging the status quo? The authorities may decide that you're acting suspicious. Or it could be that one of your associates or family members is suspected...

"This worries me a lot. Fear has a way of paralyzing even the best of us. My fellow citizens should pause to ponder - Where will it end? What is the next neat piece of technology that will rob them of that wonderful gift inherent in a democracy - privacy."

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