The tragic bombings that took place during the Boston Marathon on April 15 are likely to spur a dramatic increase in spending on video surveillance equipment, according to market research firm IHS.
According to the latest forecast from IMS Research -- now part of IHS -- worldwide revenue for video surveillance is projected to rise to $20.5 billion in 2016, up a resounding 114 percent from $9.6 billion in 2010. Following the bombings, IHS said the growth may be even more dramatic (the firm is currently in the process of revising its forecast).
History has shown that high-profile terrorism incidents such as the Boston Marathon bombings can drive increased government spending on security, IHS noted.
Of course, this makes perfect sense, especially considering video surveillance helped identify some of the people involved so quickly. I don't like the idea of "Big Brother" watching everyone, everywhere, and I'm sure some people feel a bit uncomfortable with video surveillance, but if it's done discreetly and not used for voyeuristic or overly paranoid surveillance-type purposes, seems like this would be a good thing.
I thought that it was interesting that releasing information to the public is what allowed authorities to apprehend the suspects. Dzhokhar wasn't found when the city was locked down, he was found when the lock down was lifted and a resident noticed something was askew. Had the resident been allowed out of his home Dzhokhar could have been captured first thing in the morning.
The follow-up to that, tekochip, it that I heard primary reason they released the photos was because of the amateur investigators out there on the social media site who were fingering everybody and their brother as possible suspects. Once they were focused in the right direction, the identities came out (although not necessarily by those who should have been making the phone calls).
How much freedom and privacy are we willing to give away to feel marginally safer? It's commonly said that if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't fear a loss of privacy. But that's not the way things work. The saying "He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security" is attributed to Ben Franklin. Whoever said it, I agree. Once all the cameras are up and watching every step you take, there's no going back. The choices we make now will affect our great-grandchildren. I hope that we are wiser than we seem to be.
I think this will be a natural progression after 911 and Boston. Do we have a choice--I'm not too sure. The sad fact is all of this effort is after the fact and seemingly; we do NOT have those security mechanisms in place to adequately prevent future Bostons from happening. Now, what I don't know, is how many tragic events have been stopped as a result of good police work, local and Federal. I'm sure several if not many. We will be living in a world in which the only privacy left will be thoughts never uttered nor written. It's coming then, the media will scream "the public has the right to know".
I believe a big individual decision factor in this debate tends to be each person's trust/mistrust level of our government. If you trust in our government and believe that it is a good entity that is non-intrusive and protects people, then you may be a proponent of more surveillance cameras to protect us from extremists. If you mistrust the government and believe that too much surveillance could result in a Orwellian or (or even worse) state then you may be wary of too much intrusion from the government.
At some point, there needs to be a healthy balance between the security of the citizens and the individual privacy and rights of the people.
About a year ago, or maybe a bit more, a friend sent a photo showing a huge crowd that was blocks long, at some sort of rally, I think. The suggestion was to zoom in using my computer, which showed that it was possible to recognize faces in the photo that were almost two blocks away just by zooming in enough. That is probably better than most of the best film camers could do. So that kind of technology is already available for those who want to buy it.
But the enhanced security should be done by the private businesses, not by the government, for two reasons: First, because the government will be wasting money just like they often do, and second, because letting the private businesses do it will avoid letting the government avoid wasting their time and money when there is nothing to see. That is the government way.
I most certainly do have a problem with that, and you should, too. Think about it. Atomic power was developed to provide a clean, near-unlimited energy source. It became our greatest nightmare. What was the problem? The tech? Or the application? Are you so certain that this all-seeing-eye of a future Big Brother cannot possibly be misused? Fat chance. I'm not sure that it is not already being misused, we just haven't learned about it yet.
Cell phones are so ubiquitous that we no longer make phone calls to houses- we call people. It's hard to argue that's not a major advance forward, right? But think about that opinion the next time some bozo in front of you misses the green light yakking on his/her cell phone and you wait an extra 4 minutes for the next green. Nothing wrong with the tech- it's what folks do with it.
It's all a matter of balance and common sense. I see precious little in our present government to bolster my confidence that politicians have any of either commodity.
I'm not some armageddon militia-man with a stash of M-16s and canned peaches in my garage, by the way. Just a cantankerous old fool who's getting tired of seeing such obvious problems being ignored when they could be curtailed with logic and common sense before they grow into a real issue. And here we sit thanking the government for taking away more of our freedoms.
The cameras are definitely watching me, and they're watching you too. You'd better hope that your car and your appearance don't match some pattern they are looking for today, because the next step is real-time monitoring as a new wave of "proactive" policing becomes popular. Don't assume this is the end game. It's just a step. If we'll accept this, what else will we put up with?
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