Monday, August 19, 2013

Smile, You're on Candid Camera

Trey Smith

Here is a throwaway news article, not something of direct national importance.
Police hope a small piece of high-tech equipment will deliver big results as it records officers’ interactions with the public.

The Taser Axon Flex camera, which attaches to uniform collars or the temple of eyeglasses, was demonstrated Wednesday at police headquarters in downtown Fort Worth.

Think of it as “dash-cam” technology that can record such things as witness interviews and evidence collection.

It’s also intended to settle disputes between police and residents who believe that they have been unfairly treated or arrested, said Sgt. Scott Sikes, who is in charge of implementing the program.
The police department in Ft, Worth, Texas is not unique. I'm sure many police departments in other parts of the country are experimenting with these devices or something similar. With that said, you may ask, why am I featuring this snippet?

Doesn't it seem odd that police departments are going out of their way to utilize all sorts of recording devices AT THE SAME TIME most of them become unglued when citizens seek to record what the police are up to? Go to your favorite news site and you can find a plethora of articles about the police overreacting and, sometimes, brutalizing citizens who have the temerity to point a camera or cell phone in their direction.

Even though the US Supreme Court has ruled that citizens have this right, you would never know it in numerous locales. Many police officers will tell you point blank that recording the police is illegal and, if you persist, they will force you to hand over said device and, in some instances, will arrest you. This is true even when you are not involved in the initial situation. You could be minding your own business when you come upon something you perceive as police brutality and the mere act of attempting to document it lands you in hot water.

For me, this is yet another symptom of the growing police state. The state -- whether national, state or local -- submits that it has the right to know what its citizens are up to at all times. They can take your picture, record your voice, film you and intercept your communications whenever they feel like it and it doesn't matter one wit if you grant them permission or not. But if citizens attempt to record what the government is up to, well, that's a different matter altogether. In that case, citizens are allowed to do this ONLY when the state permits it and, unsurprisingly, the state doesn't permit it very often.

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