Every time something tragic happens in America, we lose more privacy rights for the sake of security.
After 9/11, the Bush administration formed the Department of Homeland Security who quickly started monitoring personal communications such as email and cell phone calls. They claimed it was necessary to fight the war on terrorism and keep Americans safe. Legal challenges were mounted to protect our privacy, but all of those challenges were defeated by judges who ruled that the government had the right to invade our privacy to help insure the nation’s security.
Since 9/11, a number of larger cities in the US began installing hundreds and thousands of surveillance cameras throughout their cities. The cameras are supposed to be used to help prevent crime and help catch those who commit crimes. Besides the city governments installing surveillance cameras everywhere, many businesses are also following suit and installing cameras for security measures.
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel admits that they have thousands of video cameras, public and private, mounted throughout the city that can be accessed by their 9-1-1- center and emergency management personnel. Again, they claim that the cameras are there purely for safety purposes. After the bombings in Boston, Emanuel said:
“I will say, as I always have, because we have continued to put cameras throughout the city for security … purposes, they serve an important function for the city in providing the type of safety on a day-to-day basis – not just for big events like a marathon, but day-to-day purposes.”
On Wednesday, Sean Hannity of Fox News asked columnist Ann Coulter how she felt about surveillance cameras. She told him that she was in favor of them:
“You know I was just thinking about that today and I’m glad you asked me that. This is a long-standing argument Matt Drudge and I have had. He is against these surveillance cameras. I am for them. I think they are the least restrictive method. I mean, we can’t prevent all violence, as we see. We can do some things, like lock up schizophrenics to cut down on mass public shootings. But leaving that aside, people can commit violence — you can’t stop everything.”
“Are we going to have, you know, armed military guards, turn half the country into a police force and be on every street corner? And could that have even stopped this? With the surveillance cameras in a public place — they shouldn’t be in the ladies’ bathroom — but in a public place where a cop could be. There are so many surveillance cameras going. It’s not like police watching you at all times. Otherwise you would have to have half the country watching the other half. But after something like this happens, you can go back and look at the tape. And this seems like the least freedom-infringing way to keep America as safe as you can make any free country.”
So how do you feel about having surveillance cameras that track all of your movements out in public? Do you want law enforcement and the government to know where you go and what you do? They can already monitor your position via the GPS in your cell phone and they can read your emails and they monitor Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.
With incidents like the Boston Marathon bombings, we are surely going to lose more privacy, that is if there is any left to lose. It almost makes me want to wear a wide brim hat and sunglasses whenever I go outside and pay cash for everything so they can’t track me through my credit cards. As for my cell phone, I still have a dumb phone that doesn’t have internet access and it doesn’t have a GPS. If I keep it turned off all the time, except when I really need to use it, then they won’t be able to track me that way either.
Is anything private anymore? Do Americans realize just how little privacy they have these days? Perhaps it’s time to move completely off the grid, produce my own power via wind or geothermal and grow my own food and say goodbye to our Big Brother society.