Americans overwhelmingly favor installing video surveillance cameras in public places, judging the infringement on their privacy as an acceptable trade-off for greater security from terrorist attacks, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll. …
More broadly, only 20 percent of people said they believed the government had gone too far in restricting civil liberties in the fight against terrorism, while 26 percent said it had not gone far enough and 49 percent said the balance was about right. In 2011, the share of those worried about losing civil liberties (25 percent) was larger than that favoring more intrusive government approach (17 percent).
As I’ve said, you get 3 or 4 terrorist bombings in succession, Americans will be clamoring for the Bill of Rights to be outright appealed.
Except the Second Amendment, of course.
But I found the surveillance camera angle particularly interesting. We live with that in Lancaster, one of the most-surveilled small cities in America. As many have pointed out, that doesn’t seem to have led to an uptick in police solving crimes, though they’ll go on at length about how useful the cameras are.
But while they watch you, don’t you dare think about watching them.
Earlier this week came a story about a bill proposed by Lancaster County’s own Sen. Mike Brubaker, which would require anyone taking secret video of suspected animal abuse to turn over a copy of the “evidence” to the police.
This comes after a Brubaker bill last session which would have outright banned hidden video without the property owner’s concession. The point, of course, being to stamp out those undercover investigations which have targeted the likes of Kreider Farms.
Brubaker’s bill this time around is more subtle:
On Wednesday, he unveiled a bill that would not forbid anyone from using a hidden camera at a farm or slaughterhouse. Nor would it prohibit a person from seeking employment at a farm under false pretenses. All that it would do is require that anyone who videotapes or records animal abuse turn over a copy of the evidence to police.
Brubaker stressed that there is no time frame in which advocates must submit footage or photographs to law enforcement after recording abuse.
By requiring suspected animal abuse to be reported to the proper authorities, legislators can assure due process will be given to farmers and their operations, and animal cruelty or unlawful practices will be addressed.
“I do not want to see the inhumane treatment of animals, so if this is happening, law enforcement needs to investigate,” Brubaker said.
Brubaker’s bill, which has not been formally introduced, would make failing to turn over video or photos of abuse to police or posting them online an infraction punishable by a fine.
“Social networks are not a process by which you can hold someone legally accountable,” Brubaker said. “Where do we go when we believe that a child is being abused? Do we post that on the Internet? Or do we go to law enforcement officials?”
Well, I suspect if this bill would become law, people will go to both. Because animal activists will tell you that they often have little faith that the local gendarmes will do anything about abuse. And social media, the web, is a way to exert a little pressure, if laws have indeed been violated.
As these types of bills go, this is nowhere near as draconian as other bills in other states:
In Arkansas, pending legislation would make it a crime for anyone other than law enforcement personnel to investigate or collect evidence of animal cruelty.
And I bet those Arkansas county mounties will get right on suspected cases of industrialized animal cruelty, don’t you think?
But check out this quote:
“We have law enforcement and regulatory agencies to handle those kinds of situations,” said Indiana state Sen. Travis Holdman, who authored such a bill in Indiana that passed the state Senate in February. “We don’t need a vigilante group out there with cameras and video cameras taking pictures of things that we just don’t like.”
Right. But the state – well, it can be out there with cameras and video cameras taking pictures of anything and everything, and you’ll like it.
And, as noted above, many do.
As a friend noted on Facebook: Widen surveillance for private citizens, forbid surveillance of corporations.
Oh, and call it “Freedom.” American-style.